Arts Council exhibition on display in the heart of Belfast City Centre

31st January, 2024

An exciting visual arts exhibition celebrating the work of some of Northern Ireland’s most talented artists is now on display at 2 Royal Avenue, a welcoming community and cultural hub located in the heart of Belfast city centre. Featuring contemporary works from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Collection, the exhibition entitled, Social Construct, runs from 1-28 February and is free to view.

Pictured at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Social Construct exhibition at 2 Royal Avenue (L-R) are exhibition visitor, Sarah McKenna, Eimear Burton, 2 Royal Avenue Venue Manager, with Joanna Johnston, Visual Arts & Collections Officer at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, who also curated the exhibition. The exhibition is free to view and in now on display at the popular Belfast city centre venue until 28 February 2024. For more information on the Arts Council’s Art Lending Scheme visit

2 Royal Avenue is a free creative space in the city centre where people can take some time out, socialise with friends, hold a business meeting or come in and work for the day. It regularly hosts art exhibitions and other free events. This current exhibition brings together works from artists including Sinead Bhreathnach-Cashell, Shiro Masuyama, Nina Oltarzewska and Sally O’Dowd, whose process of making art is through social interaction, connecting their work to the real world, its communities and everyday lives.

On display, the public can see a range of approaches to ‘socially engaged’ artwork creation demonstrating how art can help uncover truths and expand on our perspectives. The artworks on display, are intended to encourage viewers to step outside of their day to day and ignite their imaginations. By working with unconventional materials such as discarded hair or old smart phones, or fantastical forms such as over-sized sausage sculptures, the artists are visually communicating social stories about the complexities of our world.

The exhibition has been curated by Joanna Johnston, Visual Arts & Collections Officer at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland who said,

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is - excited to see -a selection of work from the Arts Council’s Collection on display at 2 Royal Avenue. This exhibition has come about thanks to our Art Lending Scheme which provides an opportunity for public venues to borrow works for display from the Arts Council’s Collection, one of the leading contemporary art collections in Northern Ireland.

By offering the Collection for public display, we are helping to showcase the work of our artists, introduce the public to Northern Ireland’s wealth of creative talent and provide visitors with a rich insight into the artistic practice of our leading visual artists.

In this exhibition at 2 Royal Avenue, visitors can experience an interesting selection of works from our Collection, which showcases the work of visual artists who are responding to their surrounding society in a variety of ways, including through drawing, sculpture, photography and video. We do hope people take the chance to call in to experience some of our Collection out on display.”

Sarah-Jane Montgomery, Joint Managing Director of MayWe Events, 2 Royal Avenue Management, added,

“2 Royal Avenue is a social and creative hub in the heart of Belfast City Centre. We are delighted to welcome this exciting exhibition by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland that not only showcases leading, homegrown, contemporary artists, but furthers our mission to make arts and culture accessible to all.”

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland exhibition, Social Construct, runs from 1-28 February at 2 Royal Avenue, Belfast.

The Arts Council’s Collection consists of over 700 works and its primary aim has been to raise awareness of and interest in the contemporary visual arts from Northern Ireland, and to encourage the commissioning and purchase of work, as well as providing patronage to artists. 

Find out more about the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Art Lending Scheme and their Collection at