Belfast Photo Festival, Northern Ireland’s premier visual arts festival, has revealed its full programme as it prepares to exhibit works from international visual artists in galleries and public spaces throughout the city this June. This year’s compelling works are intended to lead audiences on journeys through a variety of places, histories and perspectives.
Commenting on the programme, Clare Gormley, Head of Programmes & Partnerships at Belfast Photo Festival, says: “This edition of Belfast Photo Festival, we explore how artists in the contemporary moment are interpreting the idea of the ‘journey’ as a subject of art. The festival features projects that approach this centuries old preoccupation from new and surprising angles: works that chart global surges in civil unrest; re-trace epic pilgrimages; explore the passage of time; map out unwritten histories; and chronicle journeys of self-discovery that look inward rather than out at the world.”
Alongside the reveal of the 2023 programme, the festival also announced artists Alice Mann and Carlos Idun-Tawiah as joint winners of its annual Spotlight Award.
Belfast Photo Festival director Michael Weir says: “A huge congratulations to Alice Mann and Carlos Idun-Tawiah, winners of the Spotlight Award, and to all those who have been selected by our expert panel of judges following this year's Open Submission. The number of entries was unprecedented, with submissions from around the world representing a standard that is as high as it has ever been and reinforcing our place within the international artistic community.”
This year’s jury consisted of representatives from TATE Modern; V&A; Webber, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Singapore International Photography Festival; Aperture Magazine; The New York Times; New Museum, Manhattan; and New York’s International Center of Photography.
He continues: “As an organisation we are always seeking works from new, emerging and established artists alike that give pause for thought, challenge convention – both in subject matter and in photographic practice – and offer a fresh perspective. As such we’re proud to continue our support for photographers through our Open Submission programme and Spotlight Award.”
Commenting on this year’s programme, Joanna Johnston, Visual Arts Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, says: “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to support Belfast Photo Festival, thanks to The National Lottery players. This festival not only offers a vital platform in showcasing and celebrating the incredible work of our local, contemporary photographers but also offers people here the opportunity to view work from acclaimed international photographers, helping to bring great art to all. Congratulations to the dedicated team at Belfast Photo Festival on a terrific programme for 2023 and I would encourage everyone to go along and enjoy everything this exciting festival has to offer.”
Among this year’s other highlights is a career-spanning retrospective of work from acclaimed photojournalist Alain Le Garsmeur, presented in partnership with Belfast Exposed.
In April, the festival and Ulster Museum marked the 25th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in a new co-curated exhibition that captures the often untold stories of the women who were influential to peace building in Northern Ireland. Principled and Revolutionary: Northern Ireland’s Peace Women is a new series of works from Belfast-born photographer Hannah Starkey that pays tribute to women’s social and political work.
Other highlights include:
- Fulu Act by Belgian artist Colin Delfosse, a project that document how artists on the streets of the Kinshasa raise awareness among citizens about the challenges the Congolese capital city is facing.
- The Last Frontier by Lorraine Turci explores what is at stake in the relationship between human beings and the planet as Antarctica becomes a commodity and destination of choice for wealthy tourists.
- A Myth of Two Souls by Vasantha Yogananthan retraces the legendary route from Nepal to India to Sri Lanka in a modern retelling of The Ramayana, an epic tale first recorded by Sanskrit poet Valmiki around 300 BC.
- La Espera – The Wait by Jordi Ruiz Cirera, a series that documents the realities of migrants, refugees and deportees across Mexico, highlighting the temporality of their situations.
Belfast Photo Festival is supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and Alexander Boyd Displays.
For more information on this year’s festival, visit www.belfastphotofestival.com
About the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is the lead funding and development agency for the Arts providing support to arts projects throughout the region, through its Treasury and The National Lottery funds. Our funding enables artists and arts organisations to increase access to the arts across society and deliver great art that is within everyone’s reach.
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