News 2014

Craigavon New Town: 50 Years of Modernity

Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast
24 October - 2 November 2014

Moyraverty Community Centre, Craigavon, giclée print, 182.88cm x  95.67cm, 2014

Burnside, Craigavon, giclée print, 182.88cm x  95.67cm, 2014

This exhibition, curated by PLACE, featuring new and archival photography by Victor Sloan, alongside selected historical materials documenting the founding of Craigavon, tells the often-strange story of the modernist city that rose out of the Northern Irish countryside. 

It is one of the regional events of the Venice Architecture Biennale, 2014 (Absorbing Modernity), and is organised by PLACE. 

Drawings, plans and strategies for the Brownlow development tie in with the work of Geoffrey Copcutt, and modernist housing design such as Cumbernauld in Scotland and Thamesmead in London, made infamous in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange

The opposition of Sloan’s uneasy imagery of life in a new city with the idealist, utopian visual culture of 1960s town planning, tells the story of a place in which quotidian normality is layered on top of the absurdity of the project’s unrealised ambition.

Curated by PLACE with support from British Council

The exhibition is part of Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014, a series of events celebrating modernist architecture in Northern Ireland, as part of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queens, inspired by this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale.

For more information on Absorbing Modernity events, visit

The Golden Thread Gallery
84-94 Great Patrick Street, 
Belfast BT1 2LU
Tel: 028 90330920
7 - 9 Lower Garfield Street

phone: 028 9023 2524


Victor Sloan is a panel member at Absorbing Modernity, Ulster Museum

Absorbing Modernity

The Lost City of Craigavon
Film Screening & Panel Discussion
Ulster Museum, Belfast
3:00 - 4:30pm, 25 October 2014

Panel Members

William J Cairns
William Cairns served as Chief Landscape Architect at the Craigavon Development Commission before subsequently forming W J Cairns and Partners in Scotland and N Ireland in 1972. 
Educated at MIT and Durham Universities and the RBG, Edinburgh, WJC pioneered the introduction of Environmental Impact methodologies in the Assessment of Offshore Oil and Gas projects in the North Sea in the early 70s and in major development projects including reservoirs, motorways, nuclear power stations and new towns. 
He is an International expert in strategic development planning and environmental management systems with over 40 years experience in industry, academe and government. His work has been recognised by numerous major design and environmental awards, including the BBC/Design Council National Award for Design and Environment for Megget Reservoir and the Financial Times Award for Architecture also for Megget Reservoir, 5 Civic Trust Awards and The RSA/Business Council Award for Flotta Oil Terminal.

Dr Taina Rikala 
Dr Rikala is Senior Lecturer in Urban Design, School of Architecture and Design at the University of Ulster. Specialisms include Urban Design, Architecture History & Theory, History of Consciousness. She has published more than 17 works in 23 and has held the position of Expert Advisor to the Ministerial Advisory Group, NI. 
Prior to joining University of Ulster, Taina was Principal Urban Design Consultant in Derby, England. Prior to that she authored the Thames Gateway Strategic Characterisation for Alan Baxter & Associates, and CABE. She was the Design Team Project Manager for Telford 

Millennium Community Phase I Masterplan; and taught at University of Bath. 

Victor Sloan
Victor Sloan is one of Ireland's major visual artists. He was born in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone 
in Northern Ireland and he lives and works in Portadown, Co. Armagh. Over the years Victor has returned to Craigavon many times and his work shows a fascination with the place. Writing about Victor’s study of Craigavon, Brian McAvera stated: On a straightforward level his intention was to depict the new town of Craigavon but on a deeper level we witness the stirrings, not only of an emotional reaction to the subject matter, but also of a hesitantly articulated critique. (Extract from Marking the North - the Work of Victor Sloan, by Brian McAvera, published by Open Air, Dublin and Impressions, York, England). 

Chair: Michael Corr
Michael is Creative Director of PLACE, responsible for developing the creative vision of the organisation in conjunction with the team and the board. Michael represents PLACE at a regional, national and international level liaising with key clients and partners and developing future creative and cultural projects for the organisation. 
Michael is an architect and urban designer and is currently a director of Pie architecture in London and an architecture studio leader at London Metropolitan University (CASS). Michael previously worked as an urban designer/planning advisor with Design for London in the Greater London Authority and East architecture London where he was an associate director. This year Michael is leading a Masters unit at Queens University Belfast focusing on Craigavon. Michael has been keynote speaker and an invited critic in Australia, Asia, Europe and across the UK and Ireland. 
The panel discussion will follow a screening of the 2007 BBC documentary, The Lost City of Craigavon, in which Portadown native and satirist Newton Emerson revisits the city to uncover its speckled history.

Ulster Museum
Botanic Gardens, Belfast BT9 5AB
T: 0845 608 0000  W.


Victor Sloan's work is shown in Taiwan.

Voices Travel: Conversation Between Two Harbours

Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan

21 June – 21 September 2014

This exhibition is the first large-scale international exchange exhibition between Taiwan and Northern Ireland. 

It showcases the works by 23 invited artists who explore the cities, industries, lifestyles and colonisation histories of both countries as well as different facets of the international political conditions. 

Their works are based on the use of “port” as a metaphor for historical and cultural integration in globalization and also on the rich heritage of marine cultures of the two island countries. 

There are three themes in this exhibition: “Connections among Ports and Writing of Islands”, “Drill/Practice of Voicing” and “Humour in Facing the World”. 

This exhibition is intended to inspire more reflection upon and discussion about one’s own cultural subjectivity and uniqueness. 

Artists from Northern Ireland are: 
Cian Donnelly, Deirdre McKenna, John Aiken, Lisa Byrne, Locky Morris, Paul Seawright, Peter Richards, Sara Greavu, Sinead O’Donnell, Susan MacWilliam, Victor Sloan.

Artists from Taiwan are:
吳梓寧 (Wu, Tzu-Ning)、倪祥 (Ni, Xiang)、高俊宏 (Kao, Jun-Honn)、莊宗勳 (Chuang, Tsung-Hsun)、許怡慈 (Hsu, Yi-Tzu)、郭嘉羚 (Kuo, Chia-Ling)、陳伯義 (Chen, Po-I)、陳界仁 (Chen, Chieh-jen)、陳冠彰 (Chen, Guan – Jhang)、黃志偉 (Huang, Chih-Wei)、楊順發 (Yang, Shun- Fa)、蘇信義 (Su, Xin-I )、饒加恩 (Jao, Chia-En)

Curated by Mr. Chin-ming Lee and Brian Kennedy.
Connecting two harbours: the writing of the past
John Aiken’s sand structures, a maze of walls of sand forming an impenetrable barrier, both reference the historical fortification of cities in general, and the system of peace walls built across Belfast. These sand structures present an oxymoron: a feature of permanence created out of the most fragile and transient of components. They remind us that the writing of the past can be seen in the most literal and physical of objects.

Taxi III: Stand Up and Cry like a Man by Lisa Byrne offers a video of first hand accounts of a selection of Northern Irish taxi drivers who were all victims of terrorist attacks. The impact of these verbal accounts is vast: the trauma of their experiences clearly etched on their bodies and heard in their voices. The taxi drivers may be recounting the past, but they physically carry it with them into their present.

Perhaps the most iconic symbol of Belfast, the Titanic, is explored in Sara Greavu’s video piece Apocalips Lil and the Night to Remember. The process of story telling and oral history is explored through a “toast”, the African-American narrative tradition similar to rap, where heroic events are narrated in an elaborate and lively manner. Shine and the Titanic remains a popular Toast, telling the story of Shine, a stoker on board the Titanic who foretold the disaster, but was repeatedly ignored.

Paul Seawright’s Sectarian Murder series documents the sites and media coverage generated from Sectarian attacks in the 1970’s. Each photograph has an accompanying newspaper report, with the reference to the religious background of the victim removed. The works question the editing of the past, as well as highlighting the futility of attempting to maintain difference in the face of death.

Practice of one’s voice: How do we become who we are?
F-L-A-M-M-A-R-I-O-N, a video work by Susan MacWilliam, centres on the events of a 1931 séance. The work reflects her fascination with the world of the paranormal and raises questions about the possibilities and limitations of language, vision and representation. The work investigates how our beliefs influence who we are and offers an alternative belief structure to traditional religious beliefs.

Locky Morris’ video installation Of-Note questions the effect of our surrounding on who we are. Having been born and continuing to live in Derry/Londonderry, a city whose divides are deep enough to prevent agreement even on its name, Morris’ work suggests the continuous possibility of conflict amidst an apparent calm.

The Reference Readings: Art, Text and Trees series (2012), created in collaboration with Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes, began with Peter Richards inviting Lerm Hayes to select a number of texts prior to visiting his studio to enact them in front of a pinhole camera. The duration of the reading dictated the exposure time, and the resulting photographs documented this process. The readings were recorded and could be heard as a soundtrack to the finished photographs. Richards’ pin-hole photographs literally trapped and compressed the reading time. The result is that visual information is layered on top of its self to the point that it becomes difficult to read.
Victor Sloan’s single channel video Walk, 2004, shares with the viewer the artists dismay with how when taken to far cultural preservation can quickly turn into cultural isolation. Sloan’s simple manipulation of his recording of an Orange march presents the viewer with a kaleidoscopic reality, one filled with an alternative drama, simultaneously celebratory and sinister.

The humorous way of facing the world as well as our own future
Cian Donnelly’s video work The Jangly Dusk draws on fairytales and folklore to create an alternative version of reality. Using dark humour as a method of mediating past and current problems, the work re-imagines the river and towpath as a fictional space; set for scenes of post-utopian romanticism and poetic horror.

A tongue-in-cheek critique of the contemporary pre-occupation with punctuality, Deirdre McKenna’s Untitled Tragedy is a miniature sculpture painting depicting her own funeral.  The funeral offering the last chance for the artist to be late, the piece undermines and therefore reduces the power of the funeral as a tragic event.

Asking viewers to temporarily remove themselves from reality and enter into her alternative headspaces, Sinead O’Donnell has literally created headspaces that hang from the ceiling that can be inhabited by visitors to the exhibition. Headspace: White Cube also acts as a critique of the modern world, the work suggests that to find peace from the voice of the past and present we must literally remove ourselves from them.

Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts
80 Meishuguan Road, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, R.O.C. 



Victor Sloan's works are shown in the Art of the Troubles exhibition at the Ulster Museum in Belfast.

Art of the Troubles

Ulster Museum, Belfast

11 April - 7 September 2014 

© Victor Sloan

This major new exhibition brings together the work of 50 artists from Northern Ireland and beyond. Art of the Troubles offers avenues for exploring the way in which the Troubles have been viewed by a range of artists and for reflecting on the manifestations and impact of violence and division in our society.

The exhibition comprises 60 works, including paintings, drawings, photographs, videos and sculpture. It explores a broad range of themes including violence and destruction, suffering and loss, traditions and life in the midst of turmoil.

The exhibition has been developed in partnership with Wolverhampton Art Gallery and includes many works from the collections of National Museums Northern Ireland and the recently gifted Arts Council of Northern Ireland Collection. 

Also incorporated are loans from the Imperial War Museum’s Northern Ireland Collection, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane, as well as works from private collections and artists themselves.

Art of the Troubles will be supported by a public programme, which will allow various themes reflected in the exhibition to be explored. Activity will include lectures, tours, workshops, film screenings and a conference in association with the Institute of British and Irish Studies from University College Dublin.

A range of online resources will be created both to supplement the exhibition. These will include filmed interviews with a number of the artists, a digital record of the exhibition and images of other works by the artists represented in the exhibition. An online publication relating to the conference will also be produced.

Ulster Museum 
Botanic Gardens
Belfast BT9 5AB
T: 0845 608 0000 


Victor Sloan's work is included in:

The Faraway Nearby

F E McWilliam Gallery, Banbridge

7 March - 17 May 2014

© Victor Sloan

The Faraway Nearby is a multi-generational exhibition that looks at the transient nature of influence, revealing visual and formal affinities and methodologies between artwork and artists from Northern Ireland.

The exhibition consists of works from multiple public and private collections.
Artists: Willie Doherty, Paul Henry, John Luke, Colin Middleton, Nevill Johnson, Paul Seawright, Philip Napier, Locky Morris, Elizabeth Magill, Mary Mc Intrye, Willie Mc Keown, Tim Millen, William Scott, Eoghan Mc Tigue, Siobhan Hapaska, Conor Mc Feely, Tony Hill, Damien Duffy, Hannah Starkey, Eddie Rafferty, Patrick Jolley, Victor Sloan, Majella Clancy, Dougal McKenzie, Jennifer Trouton, Darren Murray, Andrew Nicholl, Ryan Moffett, Stephen Madden, Cian Donnelly, Brendan O'Neil, Joesph Beuys, Alaistair McClennan, Una Walker, Aisling O'Beirn, Dan Shipsides, Peter Spiers and Peter Richards.

Exhibition curated by Feargal O'Malley

F.E. McWilliam Gallery & Studio
200 Newry Road,
County Down, BT32 3NB

Telephone: 00 44 28 4062 3322