I don’t want to go into too much detail about the physicality of my work but rather the thinking behind it, how my own views have shaped it and my ideas and reasons for exhibiting it.
Firstly I would like to say I have confidence in my work. Before I proceeded with this course I didn’t. I had an interest in current affairs, in people and the world around me, but through a lack of confidence I was unable to utilise this interest in my art. A year or so ago I may have scoffed at the idea of using art to articulate my own thoughts, but in hindsight I was wrong to do this.
My current position in my practice has come from more detailed research, from documenting this research correctly and from also being able to acknowledge the importance of certain secondary and tertiary materials, film, tv, books and magazines etc. This has encouraged me to pursue the re-appropriation of symbols and themes, to take archival imagery from media sources and amalgamate them with the Rorschach Ink blot test, or still images from tv interviews of local politicians, paused as though at the point of coitus.
My practice has moved from looking at conflict on a global scale to looking specifically at how my home has been affected through conflict, predominantly how it functions as a post conflict society. The relationship between art and politics in Northern Ireland have been fairly muted, it was only recently that a full retrospective exhibition on art and the troubles was shown in the Ulster Museum. Recently a local artist hit the headlines for creating a print showing the First and Deputy First Ministers kissing (a hardly x-rated peck on the lips to be precise). The extent of the coverage that this image received within local media, reflects Northern Irish society’s continuing reluctance to satirise those who represent an ageing political agenda.
Politics in Northern Ireland continue to be dominated by those supporting the traditional Protestant and Catholic parties.Those who are keen to support a more inclusive future and are less motivated by ‘religious’ swaying are massively underrepresented in Northern Ireland. I was born to a mixed Catholic and Protestant family, and I was raised to be indifferent to prejudices based on religion. Making a political statement in Northern Ireland has always been tainted by being Catholic or Protestant. I want to make art that veers away from either stance, one that subjects the current political and cultural system to scrutiny without sectarian motive.
I want my work to be shown in Belfast, partly in East Belfast where I was born and lived up to adolescence, and partly in the centre of the City.
Although Belfast is split in religious segregation, the Catholic West and the Protestant East, the Centre is predominantly mixed, mixed and multi cultural the epicentre of the more forward thinking Northern Ireland (See Exhibition Plan 2).