Portrait of Northern Ireland:

neither an elegy nor a manifesto

This exhibition demonstrates the quality and integrity of fine art practice in Northern Ireland over the past 100 years. It does not aim to be definitive but is rather a survey of the breadth and depth of artists’ responses to the geographical, social and political landscape.

Taking its subtitle from curator John Hewitt’s poem neither an elegy nor a manifesto, this exhibition is neither a lament for nor a celebration of Northern Ireland. Instead, it shows how the artists who were born or have worked in this part of the world have responded to the particular and universal experience of the people who live here.

Whilst the evolution and persistence of artistic themes is not linear, the works in the exhibition give a sense of the development of fine art practice since the 1920s.

This major exhibition features over 100 artists who have changed the way we see ourselves and the landscape around us. From Paul Henry and William Scott to Turner Prize nominees, the exhibition also showcases the work of recent graduates from Belfast School of Art.

Curated by Shan McAnena, the Portrait of Northern Ireland Exhibition is a collaboration between the Northern Ireland Office, the Government Art Collection, Arts Council NI, leading galleries and collectors as part of the wider cultural programme of the Northern Ireland Centenary.

The exhibition is open at the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast from 12 October to 4 November 21. 

Please visit the website ourstoryinthemaking.com to find out more about Northern Ireland Office Centenary events and programmes. 

The Work