Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Funding and Development Agency
for The Arts in Northern Ireland

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Artist of the Month April 2019 – Dan Dowling

Monday 1st April 2019 at 9am

The Enigma of Reality by Daniel Dowling Image: The Enigma of Reality by Daniel Dowling

Dan Dowling was born and educated in Belfast. He is a self-taught artist, using painting and drawing from an early age as a cathartic form of self-expression and as a way of communicating with the rest of the world. Using his own life and his native North Belfast as an inspiration, he developed a personal, enigmatic an immediately recognisable style.

Dan had his first one-person exhibition in 1977 in the Ulster Arts Club Gallery, and went on to become heavily involved in the club. Not only attending classes, but later helping to organise exhibitions and becoming Chairman from 1993 to 1995. In 1999, Dan was able to leave his job in a bank to become a professional artist. Since then he has exhibited extensively, and travels in Spain and Italy have further inspired his work. He also develops his ideas through blogging and social media.

The Enigma of Reality is included in the collection of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The painting addresses the intangible nature of reality. The painting shows the busy Antrim Road in Belfast, at the Waterworks Park. It captures a moment in everyday life, and places it within a glass bell jar. Suddenly reality becomes something very different and a lot less tangible. Is the moment real? The painting seeks to stimulate ideas in the mind of viewer and allow him or her to come to their own conclusions.

Further details about Dan and his work can be found at

More objects from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s collection can be viewed online at