Watch the video above featuring some members of Array Collective talking to Joe Lindsay about their award-winning work.
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland support Array Studios, the home of Array Collective, where the group of 11 artists from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, England and Italy work together to create collaborative actions in response to the socio-political issues affecting them and the communities around them.
The Druthaib’s Ball installation is a response to issues such as abortion, queer liberation, gay rights and mental health. The installation is centred on an imagined ‘síbín’ – an illicit drinking den – with a floating roof made from banners created for protests and demonstrations. It is approached through a circle of flag poles referencing ancient Irish ceremonial sites and contemporary structures and is described as “a place to gather outside the sectarian divides”.
Anna Liesching, Curator of Art at National Museums NI, commented,
“As a curator and an art historian, it's my job to look at what's happening in artistic practice now and throughout our history and recognise important moments so future generations can learn about their past. I always say that art is the material culture of our own social history and no one does it better than Array. The fact that The Druthaib’s Ball is within the National Museums NI Collection, means it's in the collection forever, for people to experience and be proud of. To be able to tell the story of Array Collective winning the Turner Prize and all their incredible, wider work is really important and exciting.”
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is principal funder of Array Studios, the workplace of Array Collective and other artists. Joanna Johnston, Visual Arts Development Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,
“The visual arts sector in Northern Ireland has so many talented artists. Many of the artists working here deserve this level of recognition. It was incredibly special that Array Collective were nominated for and then won the Turner Prize in 2021. It is just such an important moment for visual arts in Northern Ireland and I would encourage everyone to go along and experience The Druthaib’s Ball at the Ulster Museum this summer.”
Talking on behalf of Array Collective about how they felt winning the Turner Prize, artist and Array Collective member, Jane Butler, said,
“We were in huge shock when we won the Turner Prize and I think I can say this on behalf of everyone that it didn't feel like just the 11 of us won, it felt like the whole of Belfast had won. It was just so good to put the spotlight on artistic practices here in the North. We also wanted to involve, as much as possible, the different voices in Belfast and Northern Ireland to an extent, and especially those that usually don't really have a place or a platform.”
The Druthaib’s Ball remains on display now until 3 September 2023 at the Ulster Museum. Visit www.ulstermuseum.org for more information about visiting.