The upcoming art exhibition in London, titled 'Visions of the Future,' promises to showcase the perspectives and talents of a new generation of female artists from Ulster University. The focus on women artists is particularly noteworthy, as it provides a platform for these emerging voices to express their views in the post-conflict landscape of Northern Ireland.
The exhibition draws inspiration from the pivotal moment in Northern Ireland's history when The Good Friday/Belfast Agreement was signed over twenty-five years ago. This period marked a significant turning point, and the showcased artworks are expected to reflect the fresh ideas and visions of women who have grown up in Northern Ireland with an outlook vastly different from that of their parent’s generation.
Interestingly it represents a new generation and a new future exposing the views of those who have grown up in Northern Ireland now that The Troubles no longer dominate the political and cultural influence of their lives.
The group exhibition provides an exciting opportunity to see young, talented, female artists at the start of their careers who may become recognised contributors in the art world in years to come.
The list of featured artists includes Eimhéar Atkinson, Leah Davis, Shauna Fox, Hattie Godfrey, Holly-Mae Greer, June Hill, Trina Hobson, Santa Leimane, Stephanie Lindsay, Aimee Melaugh, Saffron Monks-Smith, Aimée Nelson, Amber Rossi and Irene Sweeney.
The exhibition will be on display from St Brigid’s Day, Thursday 1 February until Easter, Good Friday on 29 March at University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies at the Irish Cultural Centre in London, recognised world leader in the study of Irish history and culture.
The Institute has developed a strong track record of delivering arts projects that seek to showcase and highlight the Irish and Northern Irish connections across the UK and Europe and provides a valuable platform for Irish and Northern Irish artists to promote their work to a wider UK audience and gain recognition.
This show is curated by the ArtisAnn Gallery from Belfast, which has an established reputation for supporting emerging artists and recent graduates.
Cian Smyth, Ulster Presents Programme Manager at Ulster University, said:
“It is always exciting for us to find new ways to support artists who have graduated from our Belfast School of Art, and to do this in partnership with local independent art galleries and other Universities on these islands is a vital way for us to continue supporting our artists in a career beyond their studies. We very much look forward to working with the University of Liverpool in introducing the great work by some of our exemplary female artists to their audiences.”
Professor Pete Shirlow, Director of the Institute of Irish Studies, said:
“The Institute challenges invisibility of communities and groups. We devised the idea of female artists, given that around 80% of galleries host more male than female artists even though as many women as men are involved in the production of art. We cannot simply stand by and let such a process of unevenness, in terms of representation, continue. It is much appreciated to have funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ulster University and the support of Irish Cultural Centre, especially as they share our vision of inclusivity and the need to provide a space that redresses the reality of insufficient support for the careers of women artists who should no longer be working on the margins”
Dr Ann McVeigh, Co-Owner of the ArtisAnn Gallery, said:
“We believe in offering encouragement to young and emerging artists and are confident that these are stars of the future. The artwork produced by these newcomers is remarkable both for its technical ability and in its breadth of new ideas. This very varied show has two common linkages: all are recent graduates, and all are of the highest quality, with every indication that they will be ‘names’ of the future.”
The Irish Ambassador to the UK, Martin Fraser, made this statement:
“On behalf of the Irish Government, I am delighted to be supporting this exciting exhibition of fresh Irish talent at the Irish Cultural Centre in London. Ireland’s reputation as a cultural treasure house is well known throughout the world and the artists shown here are not only a wonderful reflection of this but are continuing to enhance that worldwide reputation. It is a great pleasure to see these young women artists from Northern Ireland having a wider stage in which to showcase the important role they play in reflecting their society as well as upholding Ireland’s great tradition as a cultural hub.”
The project has been supported by the Government of Ireland Strategic Diaspora Development Fund and Ulster University.
The exhibition takes place at the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith. It is free to view from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.