The Féile visual arts showcase goes straight to the point


There were a few people at St Mary’s University College to mark the return of their annual exhibition of visual artists Féile an Phobail.

The visual artist exhibits are all on the first floor of Falls Road College. If you go counter-clockwise you can miss the arrows to continue, but if you do you’ll enjoy artists such as Christina Bennett. Given an entire room, Christina decided to do mesh walls that echo the feeling of being trapped inside behind mesh curtains. But there is also a sense of displacement if you suddenly move away from the curtains.

The eight-minute video piece filmed in his late mother’s house during lockdown feels like capturing the attachment we may have to our childhood homes. The square prints and paintings, some on wallpaper, remind us of a time when Christina’s family fled south when embossed wallpaper was all the rage and it adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere of a dwelling.

Niamh Ferguson’s expert etchings beautifully address the legacy of the capture, in this case commenting on the children of Lir.

Roisin Murray, a finalist in this year’s Féile landscape competition, said she enjoyed participating in this year’s competition in the fresh air and nature of Divis Mountain. Its unique color palette captures a brightness beyond the human eye.

Recent graduate Leah Davis shows off the skill of her observational skills with some masterful pencil and oil head strokes.

While the Westcourt Camera Club thought they had drawn the short straw by being halfway downstairs, their large images of roaming-based members hit at the heart of the matter. Empty houses and long waiting lists seem like a given.

Féile has a reputation among artists for being open, welcoming and helpful, which partly explains why some people apply to exhibit. Indeed, there is a lot to do between the Press Photographers Association of Ireland and the Relatives for Justice Remembrance Quilt.

The visual arts exhibition is at St Marys Monday to Thursday from 11am to 7pm until August 14th. My advice is to get down an hour early or linger an hour after to get a good view.

The 65th annual exhibition of the Ulster Society of Women Artists (USWA) is once again taking place at Crumlin Road Jail in North Belfast. The USWA was founded by Gladys MacCabe in 1957. At that time, no art society in the North accepted women as members and, like many great women, she decided she had to do something about this subject. The society has grown from its original ten members to over a hundred.

BEHIND BARS: Samantha Ellis Fox in Belfast Prison

BEHIND BARS: Samantha Ellis Fox in Belfast Prison

The society organizes various exhibitions throughout the year and invites new members every year. “We continue to encourage new talent to join us, creating a multi-generational framework of support and camaraderie for Ulster women artists,” said current President Catherine McKeever.

LITTLE BLUE: From the USWA exhibition

LITTLE BLUE: From the USWA exhibition

The exhibition is open every day from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until August 13. Admission is free and although it’s never the same thing to see online, the exhibition is also accessible via their website.

Late night art seems to be back in its bustling city vibe with every gallery open under the chat and the adoring and thoughtful gaze of experts and novices alike. Martin Parr’s ‘Parr’s Ireland: 40 Years of Photo’ exhibition at Belfast Exposed features a juxtaposition of images from both sides of the border that look very familiar. The exhibition is open until September 24.

Atypical University has developed an Urban Survival Kit exploring how disabled and neurodiverse adults can develop and design personal survival kits to make getting around easier. Masks seem to be a recurring theme. The international collaboration grew from a series of online and in-person workshops that obviously delighted and surprised attendees. Open Tuesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Belfast Cathedral Quarter Trust has announced after a strategic review that there will be no Culture Night in 2022. The review, which was carried out in partnership with Belfast City Council as part of their strategic ambitions to developing cultural events in the city, pointed out that arts and culture had gotten lost in the general ‘noise’ of the event and many visitors now felt it was not for them.

Ron Meuck’s sculptures at the Mac delight and surprise visitors, but we’ll talk about that next week.

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