Our scheduled Dissolving Histories: An Unreliable Presence panel discussion couldn’t take place in the gallery due to the current situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Luckily due to the wonders of technology, we were able to record the talk and bring it to you now, while still practicing all the social distancing protocols!
We were joined by co-curators Mary Cremin and Peter Richards and artists Liliane Puthod, Stuart Calvin and Michael Hanna to discuss the process of building the Dissolving Histories exhibition. It’s fascinating to hear the artists discuss the changing context of this exhibition, given our current global situation. The discussion provides a wonderful insight into the way this exhibition came about and also the thoughts behind the origins of the Dissolving Histories series (of which this is the third annual instalment).
While the GTG is temporarily closed to the public our family workshops are postponed, but we’re sharing lots of art activities online. Download, print, colour in and please share completed works of art with us!
This week is World Autism Awareness Week 2020 and to mark this important event the Golden Thread Gallery is launching our new Social Story™ on our website. We’ve designed it to help make visiting the gallery, and engaging with visual art, easier and more enjoyable for young visitors on the autism spectrum.
Thanks to funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, we’ve been able to develop and create this new step-by-step guide to exactly what visitors can expect when they come to the Golden Thread. It’s available to view and download free of charge on our website here and at the bottom of this page too.
Once the current public health situation has improved, and we’re advised that it’s safe to re-open the gallery, we will also be making free printed copies of the guide available, both in the gallery and to organisations who work with and support young people on the autism spectrum in Northern Ireland.
Our unique Social Story™, ‘My Visit to the Golden Thread Gallery’, was developed using the pioneering model first created by Carol Gray in the 1990s, alongside research into current best practice in the international arts and cultural sector.
Creating the guide has helped the GTG team to take a fresh look at the gallery ourselves, and to consider accessibility from a new perspective.
We are always working to make the gallery as welcoming as possible to all visitors. We hope that we will welcome many new visitors and their families once we are open again!
We’re delighted that our Golden Thread Junior Galley has been awarded Best New Gallery in the inaugural thrive Audience Delight Awards, announced today!
The Junior Gallery was designed and created by GTG’s Lisa Malone, who has lead our free family art workshops.
“After every workshop we had wonderful freshly painted artworks drying on the gallery floor. Artists and visitors to the gallery started to admire them, and we knew we wanted to celebrate all the imagination and great work of our junior artists. So we decided they deserved their own space!”
Our family workshops are often themed around the exhibitions in the main gallery space and the Project Space, inspired by the ideas or techniques of artists whose work is on display. We supply the art materials free of charge to our junior artists of all ages, and parents get involved too!
GTG installed the Junior Gallery right at the front of the gallery, in our dedicated family area, so that it’s one of the first things that visitors see when they walk in the door. Our goals as an organisation include making sure that everyone who visits feels welcome and comfortable in a gallery space. We try to break down barriers to engaging with visual art wherever we can. We want our young visitors to feel confident and proud in exploring their own creativity, and to understand that art is for everyone. We think displaying their brilliant work alongside our other exhibitions is an important part of that!
Everyone at the Golden Thread Gallery would like to thank thrive for this wonderful award, and a special congratulations and thanks to Lisa Malone!
While we’re closed, we wanted to take a look back at some of the highlights of our exhibitions over the past year, and share the activity sheets for you to download and print at home. Please peruse some incredible art, then send us pictures of your own creations!
Last August the Golden Thread Gallery brought an incredible exhibition of contemporary Japanese art to Belfast. ‘Noise of Silence: Japanese Art Now’ was co-curated by GTG Director Peter Richards, the Director of Art Center Ongoing in Tokyo Nozomu Ogawa and Belfast based Japanese artist, Shiro Masuyama. The exhibition included work by 11 different artists, with a broad spectrum of styles and approaches to contemporary art making.
Noise of Silence: Japanese Art Now included spectacular live art events. Artist Takahiro Suzuki continued his global “生きろ (IKIRO) ” (meaning “Be Alive”) project in a durational performance in our Castlecourt pop-up space.
You can watch a video of IKIRO on our Facebook page here or this one taken by the Power family on a visit to Castlecourt here!
In Golden Thread Gallery One artist Yusuke Asai created a 17 metre long mud mural on-site, painting right on the gallery walls. He used soil and clay that he gathered here in Northern Ireland to paint his fantastical creatures and images of nature.
Shiro Masuyama’s installation work ‘Tokyo Landscape 2020‘ included an intricate motorised light ascending and descending over water to illuminate rows of plaster figures. Take a look at this video of the installation by Shiro.
Kyunchome’s video documentary ‘Making the Perfect Donut‘ begins with the idea of combining an American type donut with a sata andagi, an Okinawan donut, to create the ultimate deep-fried treat. But the piece explores the complicated history of American and Japanese relations, and the protests at the continuing presence of American military bases in Japan.
Atsushi’s piece was actually filmed in Belfast in 2014, during his residency with Flax Studios. In his video he walks around the city with his friends, dressed in a Japanese giant costume, responding to the mythology of Irish giant Finn McCool.
Artist Fuyuka Shindo has also spent time in Belfast, having studied at Belfast School of Art and been artist-in-residence in Flax Studios. Conducting research in museums and archives, she looks at objects such as traditional costumes and old photographs.
Her finished pieces incorporate elements from both past and present, through imagery, materials used or techniques employed.
Midori Mitamura has also worked in Belfast at Flax, and is now based in Tokyo. She makes interactive installations using ready-mades and projected images.
Her installation ‘Green on the Mountain’ was inspired by a family photograph that she found in Europe.
With Noise of Silence: Japanese Art Now, we offered our visitors in Belfast the opportunity to experience aspects of Japanese life through the eyes of some of its most talented contemporary artists. Their work explored Japan’s distinct cultural issues in addition to drawing out the artistic parallels that unite creative practices across international boundaries, allowing the exhibition and visitors to reflect on the similarities that exist within our own cultures.
Read a review of the exhibition by art writer Slavka Sverakova here.
Please download and print our activity sheets to create your own artworks inspired by the exhibition, and send us pictures!
While we can’t hold our regular free family art workshops in the gallery, we thought we could share some of the exhibition art activities we’ve created over the past year, along with flashback virtual visits to those exhibitions. From tomorrow on our website you can remind yourselves of the artists whose work we have shown, and download and print the activity sheets!
Starting with a special award for Mums to celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday! You can download our special Rosette design to colour in here, to make sure your Mum knows that she’s the best.
On Monday we’ll take a look back at the incredible Noise of Silence: Japanese Art Now exhibition that we held last year – up above is a reminder of the amazing mud murals by Yusuke Asai, painted live in the Gallery right onto the walls!
We want keep our Junior Gallery going too, showcasing work by your budding artists. If they’ve painted a picture, done some drawing or colouring in, made crafts or just gone crazy with your own artwork, please send us photos. Look how empty it is – we need your help!
Email them to us at info at gtgallery.co.uk or share them with us on social media. Tell us the artists name and age too. You can use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Tag us in and use the hashtags #GTGBelfast and #GTGJuniorGallery We’ll add their work to our virtual Junior Gallery online using technological wizardry.
Check back tomorrow for the first virtual exhibition workshop!
The Board of the Golden Thread Gallery takes the safety of its staff and visitors seriously. Following the most recent government statement, we have taken the decision to close to the public from today, 18th March.
We will monitor the situation and review regularly.
All of our upcoming events are postponed, including the Reading Round and family workshops. However, we’re looking at the possibilities for hosting online activities as an alternative. We have plans in place to increase our virtual presence, including art activities for kids, and to engage with as many of you as possible.
Please watch this space and in the meantime stay safe.
We are staying open for the moment, and continuing with our normal gallery activity – although this may change in the coming days. As a precaution however, we have decided to cancel all our upcoming events, including the RLF Reading Round and our regular family art workshops. We will let you know when they resume.
We also won’t be taking part in Late Night Art on the first Thursday in April.
We continue to follow advice from the Public Health Agency and Department of Health. And once again we are asking all our visitors, if you are showing any symptoms, or have recently returned from a high-risk region, please don’t put other people at risk of illness. If you do become unwell and suspect you may have been exposed to COVID-19 you should stay at home and phone your GP for advice.
As a public gallery, we take our responsibility to our audiences and staff health and well-being seriously. Like all organisations in Northern Ireland, we’re monitoring the current situation around Covid-19 (coronavirus) carefully and following updates and advice from the Department of Health.
Right now this means doing everything we can to control the possible spread of the virus, as set out in the guidelines from the Public Health Agency around hygiene: avoid unnecessary contact; wash hands frequently and thoroughly; cleaning surfaces such as door handles with disinfectant cleaner; if you cough or sneeze, use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose, throw it away carefully after use, and wash your hands. Once flu and similar infectious viruses begin to spread, the main method that can prevent further spread is good personal hygiene. Washing your hands regularly will help prevent flu and other viruses spreading.
We are asking all our visitors to do the same – if you are showing any symptoms, or have recently returned from a high-risk region, please don’t attend public events where you might put other people at risk of illness. If you do become unwell and suspect you may have been exposed to COVID-19 you should stay at home and phone your GP for advice.
In saying this we are also bearing in mind that at present most possible cases in NI have turned out to be negative, and the Public Health Agency has not recommended the need for workplaces to close. Therefore, at present we are staying open and continuing with our normal gallery activity.
You can find the latest health advice and regular updates at the links below:
We’re very happy too introduce the newest member of the GTG team, Chiara Matteucci! Joining us for three months on the excellent Erasmus scheme for third-level students, Chiara has been in Belfast for a few weeks now, getting to know the city. She is a graduate of DAMS (the famous degree course founded by Umberto Eco) and holds a Master’s in Contemporary Art from the University of Bologna. On her first visit to us here in the GTG, she attended the launch of the Dissolving Histories exhibition, and has written this wonderful review of the show:
“Dissolving Histories: An Unreliable Presence is the new exhibition of the Golden Thread Gallery which opened on Saturday 15th February. It was my third day in Belfast when I came to the opening and, believe or not, it was raining! I’d never seen the gallery before that day and my first impression was that the place was warm (probably because I was still wet from the rain), friendly and huge. The two wide corridors with soft lights and the way the artworks have been displayed created a suggestive atmosphere that capture the attention and immerse the spectator in undefined time/space.
The aim of the exhibition is
to reflect about the notion of History itself, and the final result is a
cohesive space within which different realities and thoughts take place. The
four artists involved investigate the concept of History with different media,
trying to give their own definition of the notion, inevitably related to their specific
Greeting you at the entrance of the exhibition is the video
Dissolving beyond the worm moon by Bassam Al Sabah. The war that has
afflicted all the ages is shown through a juvenile eye, like a Japanese Anime
series, broadcast in Arab world since the 80s. This surreal work, constantly
playing between reality and fantasy, naturally coexists with the ancestral
sculpture made by Stuart Calvin, which reflects on the contrary on the eternal
necessity of the human being to believe in something transcendent, capable of
resolving problems above human’s powers. The way to invoke this unreliable
presence is the upside-down sculpture Calvin created that seems, by the way, an
Even the artworks of Liliane Puthod look like some archaeological
elements but from a different era: all of them allude to another presence of our
contemporary society, capitalism. In her works the notion of History becomes
real, tangible and near our age. These artworks indeed reflect society itself
in a conceptual way: using industrial materials (e.g. Cool Death) and
thinking about the act of consumption of products in our everyday lives.
The desire of collecting goods (in this case memories)
is present also in Michael Hanna’s video, which at a first sight could be
described as an obsessive and quite random collection of frame videos. Actually,
this work reflects about History throughout; a focus on the concept of Utopia suggested
moreover by the title chosen: Indoor sunlight.
This rain of images (the reference to Italo Calvino is a must!) is the last artwork of Dissolving Histories: An Unreliable Presence at the Golden Thread Gallery until the 25th of April.”
Co-curated by Mary Cremin and Peter Richards... Al Sabah, Puthod, Hanna and Calvin are individually interested in contemporary consumerism, materiality and futuristic landscape. The exhibition considers today’s lifestyle, informed by our consumption of material goods.