One of the interesting developments happening over the last six months within arts is the blossoming of online content, with publicly-funded galleries now closed again expect all that creative energy to go online.

Duncairn Arts Centre were quick at the start of lockdown to experiment with their virtual cabarets, recording a mixture of musicians and piecing it together on YouTube. This has evolved into ‘Take 2’ for the autumn,   a fortnightly, Saturday-night programme offering music, poetry,  and a cocktail of artistry.

The next broadcast is Saturday 25 October 8pm. The first episode can be enjoyed below.

The Mac made a call out for an artists'-led project called Noli Timere, “don’t be afraid", the reported last words of Seamus Heaney.

The call was for videos, literature, photos  and imagery that inspire hope.  The content has been collated into videos that will be published every Friday afternoon over the next few weeks. The most recent one is below.

HOME - Noli Timere: Blue is the Hour

#HOME – Noli Timere Premiere: Blue is the Hour Photography: Carrie Davenport Composer: Garth McConaghie Editor: Conan McIvor Writer and performer: Abby Oliveira Trumpet accompaniment: Rick Swann We’re delighted to continue premiering a series of short films as a collective artistic response to our lives in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Premiering today is a film titled Blue is the Hour. “When lockdown hit the world seemed chaotic and unfamiliar. Suddenly we couldn't see family and friends who were our world, and it hurt to be torn away from them when all you wanted was to go make sure they were ok. As a freelance photographer, my work all but vanished, as it did for so many. I found once I settled into that new normal, that will never actually feel normal, I enjoyed taking photos just for fun and being creative helped with all the bad news and confusion. I loved spending time with my little girl and watching her grow. I walked around the city photographing the buildings which have always been there, a sort of constant in the ever-changing world that made it feel like not all had changed. I vowed to never take for granted a cuppa at mums or a meeting with a friend again. Mostly, I found positives in all that time I would not normally have and to make the most of every minute of it. As Abby perfectly puts it, at home where time is never spent but invested.” Carrie Davenport “Throughout the pandemic, I've been struck by a need to document as much of it as possible, if only for the future reference of my son who was born mid-lockdown. I included those things that stood out most vividly to me; the eerily empty streets, the hand-crafted masks made by local women, grandparents meeting their grandkids through glass panes… I wanted to include some photography terms in the text; while researching these I discovered the concept of the 'blue hour' (the hour immediately before (or after) sunrise), and from there the central idea for the poem emerged. Carrie was eager to ultimately keep focused on the positives emerging from this situation; many of us have opted to take this approach for the sake of our sanity. However, the fact is that, in the background of our lives, there's constant nagging fear; our streets may be quieter during lockdown, but there are riots in our hearts and minds that threaten to someday spill onto the eerie streets.” Abby Oliveira Proudly supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council

Publiée par The MAC sur Vendredi 16 octobre 2020

If you would like to learn how to make your own portrait 'Portraits, Past and Present' is a Peace IV programme between the Nerve Centre, National Museums NI, the Pubic Record Office and Linenhall Library starting this week which might be of interest. It includes a discussion led by artist Colin Davidson on how to portray emotion, a talk by Kim Campbell Mawhinney, senior curator at NMNI, on the importance of capturing history and technical skills taught by Peter Strain.

Each participant will receive art materials in the post and technical assistance as it’s delivered by Zoom and Slack. Participants must live in Northern Ireland or the border counties. The link to book is here.

We are also starting to see the product of the Arts Councils emergency support for artists funded by the National Lottery which has allowed more individual artists to innovate in their chosen skill area.

One that caught my eye is the pilot led by Meadhbh Mcllgorm’s Liminal Space Belfast, a project  to bring visual artists' work in this odd time we are living through, to the liminal spaces in Belfast, in particular the back alleys of terraced houses. An interesting concept.

It felt as if the Ulster Museum almost locked the door behind me when I went down last Friday to see the Royal Ulster Academy annual exhibition. Luckily for them they had the foresight to make a virtual environment with scaled images of all the art selected now that they are closed for four weeks.  

There is less wall space this year, fewer tables for small sculptural pieces so the exhibition has a more rarefied feeling.

As usual a selection of portraits and landscapes, a nod to Covid-19 with masked health workers and a knitted tea cosy in the shape of the virus.

I love Andrea Spencer’s Return to the Centre of seaweed made of glass and the painting “Come here to you see this shite” by Deirdre Kearney made me laugh as who has not heard those word uttered a few times in many galleries.

Peter Richards gets the prize for using a corner in the best possible way. Lynn Kennedy’s painting  ‘but where are you really from?' also caught my eye encapsulating the repeated question often spoken to people of African decent living in Ireland.

Farouk from Belfast a painting in oils by Joel Simon is also beautiful. The Exhibition runs until end of January hopefully the Museum will be open before then to see it in real life, until them the online version is a good second.

Gallery545 run by Francesca Bondi continues the majority of exhibitions online but Latisha Reihill abstracts ‘Ways of Seeing’ can be viewed until October 31 at Blick Studios.

For details, email Francesca.

Happy Birthday to Belfast Exposed Photography Gallery which started thirty seven years ago this month, It began when Danny Burke  teacher, trade unionist and community activist gathered local photographers together for an exhibition in Conway Mill after the period following the 1980-1981 hunger strikes.

The exhibition largely articulated life in the city from a working class perspective with over 200 photos and slides.  

While community experience of conflict has remained an important focus of their work, the challenge has been to make this work more relevant and accessible for a new generation of photographers and audiences, to keep their socially-engaged focus while responding to contemporary currents in photography and politics. Moving to the Cathedral quarter in 2003, they have become a vital part of the wider artistic community and continue to push boundaries. Their next exhibition Becoming Christine by Amanda Dunsmore is due to open in November and is part of their three year strategy to exhibit work about transgender topics.

Belfast Exposed team celebrating 

The Belfast Exposed team celebrating our 37th birthday and planning for the next 37. Here is to many many more!

Publiée par Belfast Exposed Photography Gallery sur Mardi 13 octobre 2020

John Baucher was to open his already postponed exhibition Flowers from the East at PsSquared this week however this is now doing to go online — watch their website for details. 
Love and light, Bronagh.