East Belfast artists paint new vision of the city
Streets around East Belfast will soon be emblazoned with a new interpretation of city life, as 26 billboards celebrating local people, culture and social aspects of life, go on display for the East Belfast Festival.
The billboard trail and exhibition, funded by the Arts Council, runs from Thursday 6th- Sunday 16th September. Pictured are Joanna Harvey, Arts Council, Maurice Kinkead, East Belfast Arts Festival, with Creative Exchange Art in the Eastside III artists Katie Blue, Stephen Millar and Claire Lau
The project, Art in the Eastside III, developed by the Newtownards Road-based arts collective Creative Exchange Studios, is the largest outdoor exhibition ever to take place in East Belfast and contains many iconic images of the area, such as the Harland and Wolff cranes, Strand Cinema and the mill workers. Funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the initiative combines work from nine Creative Exchange artists, renowned for their work both nationally and internationally, plus six artworks created by local community groups. Following a public call for ideas, an additional 11 artists were also selected to produce work for the show.
Starting at Central Station, the billboard trail will see artworks displayed on a journey through the east-side of the city, along the Albertbridge, Newtownards, Cregagh and Castlereagh Roads. While those wishing to view the artworks all together will have a chance to view the original pieces in Portview Trade Centre from 6th- 16th September.
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is providing funding to support Creative Exchange Studios and the East Belfast Festival. Joanna Harvey, Visual Arts Officer, at the Arts Council, commented: “This unique exhibition has been created by local people and celebrates all aspects of life in East Belfast. Thousands will have a chance to enjoy the artworks over the coming weeks when they go on display next week in various locations throughout the area. This project has been inspired by the local community and celebrates the creativity and artistic diversity of local residents, in a totally inclusive way.”
The exhibition is just one of a number of a number events taking place as part of the first East Belfast Arts Festival (5th-9th September 2012). Maurice Kinkead, East Belfast Arts Festival Chair, commented: “We are very pleased to have this excellent outdoor exhibition as part of our inaugural festival. This brings art out on to the street , where many people who might never venture into a gallery can see and appreciate it. Alongside the music, drama, comedy, film and other visual art events, this exhibition is yet further evidence of the wealth of creativity to be found in the east of the city.”
Lesley Cherry is one of the artists from Creative Exchange who has created an artwork for the exhibition. She said: “We want to show off an alternative side of East Belfast exploring what is unique and special in this part of the city. The responses we had to the project was phenomenal and the artists locally as well as those from far and wide have truly engaged with the theme to display some amazing results. This is a fantastic way to reach out into the heart of the community and show our work in an accessible public setting. Some works are abstract; some are representative and we even a few have quite humorous ones but combined give a true contemporary flavour of the east.”
To find out more about the exhibition or East Belfast Arts Festival, visit www.eastbelfastartsfestival.org