Bronagh Lawson is an artist based in Belfast who has written a blog about the vibrant local contemporary visual arts scene for the last ten years. Previously starting as a participant then manager she ran cross-community cross border development programmes for 13 years.
Originally from Portaferry and Strangford she is a Fulbright scholar and graduate of Winchester School of Art.
Bronagh is a co-founder of the Hydrangea project a Belfast — a Chicago collaboration which uses contemporary art underpinned with art therapy to act as a healing mechanism. Her book 'Belfast City of Light: Looking and Listening to Belfast Come with Me' is based on her experience as a non-churchgoer attending every church in Belfast for a service over a ten year period.
THIS year's 4 Corners Festival theme is 'Dreams... Visions for Belfast', marking the 60 years since Rev Dr Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream speech' in Washington DC when he advocated a better, more just America.
INSPIRATION can come from many places at any time. and this is evident with three artists currently exhibiting in Belfast who have been inspired somehow by interior and exterior landscape.
ONE thing that many people can agree on is the creeping prevalence of technology in some creative spheres, be it animation, gaming, films or art itself . And while there is always a good reason not to keep tech skills in the arts, there is also an argument for keeping an eye on what people are doing in that technology/creative space to see if it inspires you – or simply to gain insight into the latest trends and developments .
DELIGHTED to see one of my neighbours taking their Christmas recycling to the dump, but did he really have to have his pyjamas and slippers on, complete with red and white fake fur-trimmed hooded dressing gown? Well at least the neighbour's children would know that Santa finally had a day off.
FED up with Quality Street for breakfast and lamenting their change of look to their recycable packaging, we are locked in the twilight world between Christmas and New Year where many of us lose track of what day it is and what we are supposed to do next. It's a good time to have a look at what to look forward to in our cultural calendars.
THERE is a particular energy in being in a country while that country is playing in the World Cup. Okay, France didn't win and seemed to be half asleep at first, but the excitement when it woke up was enough to even get my mum excited about watching football – and trust me, that takes a lot.
Shiro Matsuyama raised a much-needed smile on the faces of gallery visitors at the opening of his Brexit Sausages exhibition at the Cultúrlann during the most recent Late Night Art. While munching on cocktail sausages we absorbed the adventures of 'the only Japanese artist in Northern Ireland'.
The Disneyfication of the art experience has accelerated with the development of digital technology. Most art experiences can already be immersive as they take the viewer on a journey into another world. So, does there need to be all those flashing images as well?
While the price of chicken has gone up, it is not quite the same as gold – yet. However, at the Collectable and Curiosities exhibition at Craft NI Gallery eighteen contemporary jewellers from around the globe have been contemplating a wide range of different narratives that relate to their individual cultures. Among its gems is a gold-plated chicken leg with a custom-printed chicken box.
Catherine Martin, Irish Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, was in Westminster recently at the invitation of Clare Hanna MP who is chair of the Performers Alliance All-Party Parliamentary Group. She had been invited to talk about the Irish Basic Income for the Arts scheme, an innovative pilot scheme which has the potential to transform how the arts in funded in Ireland.
Interview with Dr Josephine McCormick about her Muse exhibition at Belfast Print Workshop
WITH a choice of thirteen different gallery openings last Thursday for Late Night Art it was best to focus on just a few and go back at another time. It’s always good to have a new location open even if it’s temporary so the Uphold exhibition at 35DP – 35 Donegall Place– was first on the list. A great use of empty space in the city centre, at one point it was the old third floor tourist information centre. The escalators have gone as well as the nineties fit-out to reveal an enormous industrial space which will temporarily be a gallery. It once again demonstrates that if you leave the artists to get on with it then new ventures blossom. Uphold is a community Interest company connected to Household, which, if your memory goes back far enough, instigated all the artists in the Ormeau area to turn their houses into galleries for a couple of years. Noticing that there is a large fleet of artist not represented by galleries locally, they have set up an online platform to act as a selling space for some of this talent. The Exhibition in 35DP is the first time they have spilled their selling arm out into a physical space and while online art buying is a multi-million-pound business, the physical reaction to seeing art in the flesh can prompt purchases, especially when you are less familiar with the artists’ work. For this exhibition they have included a few artist designers creating in response to themes of this year’s Outburst Festival. Prices range mostly in the twenty quid to six hundred price range with a lot around the hundred quid mark. Illustrating further the compassion that artists have, some are sharing any profit with charities such as the Welcome organisation and Women’s aid.
OONA Doherty has been having a think about life’s big questions, our place in the universe our fleeting time on earth and the conditions all around us. The dancer/choreographer, who has taken the contemporary dance world by storm, seems to have found everything a little too much, from too much work to the crises in the world.
LYING on the ground in the middle of the courtyard of the Irish Museum of Modern art in Dublin with my eyes closed and a zip pulled up the front of my hood, so I could not see. The sounds of other performers caught my ear and I found myself joining in with the drum beat with a tinkling of a silver cup banging on the ground.
COULD a school you know of benefit from a visit to the annual Royal Ulster Academy exhibition now open at the Ulster Museum? Every year there is a very coherent education programme. This year ‘Meet the Artist’ events have been organised for key stage 3 and 4 or A-Level where participants get a tour of works that use the same medium or techniques they are studying, followed by a demonstration and informal discussion with an artist about their work. For AS and A2 A-Level students ‘Sources and Inspiration’ talks will be delivered by a number of academics. It’s an opportunity for students to hear a professional artist talk about their ideas, view original studies of their work and ask questions. School groups of any age led by their own teachers are invited to come and enjoy the exhibitions on Wednesdays and Fridays but are asked to let the Academy know beforehand. If you are interested in any of the programmes email firstname.lastname@example.org to register or ask for more information. Saturdays are an opportunity for a guided tour for everyone, including an Irish language tour with Dan Dowling, President of the RUA, in November and at lunchtime on Fridays there are short informal artist talks in the gallery itself, no registration required. The exhibition itself has moved to different galleries which are now accessed via the stairs or lift at the end of the corridor on the right as you enter the building. This offers more space for the art and for the first time there are two dedicated video art viewing spaces. These can be easily missed, looking like large black voids, but worth walking into. There are over 330 pieces on view from members of the RUA as well as selections from an open submission process, which should be demystified somewhat when a new documentary comes out about it soon.