CREATIVE EXCHANGE ARTISTS IMAGES ART IN THE EASTSIDE 2012
RAY DUNCAN – Oval Colours As an artist working in the heart of East Belfast and concerned with painting large abstract paintings, Duncan produced work based on the colours of the local football team – Glentoran FC. The colours are immediately significant and recognisable to all those living in the area, as the team has been based and supported by the local populace since 1882. Duncan comments, ‘ I was excited about by the club’s contrasting colours of red, green and black. Whilst researching I came across a phrase used by supporters and players alike – ‘playing for the shirt’. This was used to urge the players to greater efforts on the field, so I decided that I would ‘paint for the shirt’ and create a ‘billboard icon’ in the same colours.’
DEIRDRE ROBB – The Millie’s In this work, Robb celebrates the hidden industrial population of the female workforce, who once filled the Mills of East Belfast. History paints an image of industry in East Belfast, focusing on the male dominated workforce of the shipyards and the aircraft factory, yet the mills were a vital part of the development of this area whose workforce was predominately female. In this graphic-style work, Robb highlights the importance of these women and acknowledges the difficulties they encountered. Often working in very harsh conditions for long hours and receiving pitiful wages, the women were still stoic, committed and highly skilled. This work highlights their struggle and asks if it is not time that their ‘hidden history’ should be told.
LESLEY CHERRY – I Am Not A White Horse ‘I Am Not A White Horse’ is a small-scale installation, temporarily created in the deep windowsill of the artist’s East Belfast studio. It is a comment on history, life, new shoes, journeys, folklore and families. Cherry encompasses humour and sentimentality in this work, reflecting on how we look at the past and often remember it through a rosy haze, regardless of the actual circumstances. There are also underlying social and political comments within the work, with references both to loyalism, poverty and pride, mixed with a sense of glamour and ridiculousness.
GEORGE ROBB – The Wait George Robb has lived in East Belfast since he five, with a large part of his upbringing and childhood being associated with going to see ‘The Bands’ and the Loyal Orange Order demonstrations, near his home on the Beersbridge Road. Robb comments, ‘In creating this work and remembering back to those days as a child, I wanted to capture the sense of anticipation you get when waiting for the band to start playing. I also consciously shot the image from a child’s point of view, looking through the bandsmens legs. I titled the image ‘The Wait’ which comments not only on my childhood memories, but the explores the wider issues of band culture in the east, and the ‘wait to see’, how parades and bands change with cultural and political shifts.
COLIN DAVIS – Belfast Boy George Best is synonymous with Belfast and the East of the city in particular. In making this work, the artist revived vivid childhood memories of hearing his name and seeing him on TV as a sporting icon along with the great names such as Mohamed Ali and Pele. he comments, ‘My aunt and uncle lived in a street nearby George Best’s parent’s house in Burren Way and on family visits I would sometimes walk by his house and the grassy area where he played in his youth. To have such a national and internationally recognised talent come from the same place as I did, was inspiring to a whole generation.
KATIE BLUE – Invasion of the Sock Monkeys In this playful piece Blue unites East Belfast’s H&W cranes, and her own more modest cottage industry and current creative obsession of making Sock Monkeys. The Sock Monkeys have become a recurrent theme in Blues practice and here she entwines them with the iconic cranes to create this humorous work. In her own words Blue describes how her thought process works – “Living and working in Belfast, I pass the cranes everyday, as do thousands of others. They are an iconic image for the city, and as such are used as inspiration for countless artists….but perhaps I see them differently from other people. For instance, if giant alien sock monkeys invaded, would they use them as giant monkey bars?’
LAURA MCGUIRE – Titanic Buildings McGuire uses various printing techniques to capture the essence and drama of the new Belfast Titanic Building, which she sees as rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the shipyard, bringing new interest and energy to the area. In creating this work, McGuire recalls the troubled, turbulent and often triumphant history of the shipyards, which brought great prosperity and work to Victorian Belfast, but marks the new era by capturing the regeneration of this part of the city through it’s new landmark buildings.
BEN ALLEN – Holiday Working in collage and multi-media, Allen creates a fantasy/impossible landscape celebrating the iconic shipyard cranes, mixed with and colliding against 1950’s Irish Tourist Board postcards and imagery, celebrating ‘beauty spots’ within and without the city and commenting, in a playful way, on the growth of the city as a tourist destination