To preserve our visual history and safeguard works of art that could otherwise be lost to the public, Golden Thread Gallery is building a permanent Collection of Northern Irish contemporary art.
The works that will make up the collection fall under three main themes:
- Art made during “The Troubles” that reflected the conflict
- Art made during the period that spoke to wider discourse
- Art made post-agreement
Some of the most powerful and important contemporary artworks made within these parameters in the last five decades have been exhibited just a few times, and many have not been seen by the public since. Others have been sold to private collections, or removed from Northern Ireland entirely to museums and galleries abroad. Many of the now elderly artists working throughout the Troubles may die without securing the future of their works.
In 2019 we were awarded funding from the Ampersand Foundation to begin to purchase works and build our collection of Northern Irish art. Works we have acquired so far thanks to Ampersand’s vital support are being catalogued, photographed and – for now – put safely and securely in storage.
As part of our plans for the evolution of the GTG, we’re working with key stakeholders to develop a permanent home for the Collection in Belfast, where it can be on display to the public and accessible to all.
Works we have acquired so far include:
Paul Seawright, Sectarian Murder Series (1988)
Sinead O’Donnell, Headspace: White Cube (2014)
Ursula Burke, The Cycle (2013)
Marie Barrett, Faith of our Fathers (1988); Elective Mutism (1988); Puritans and Cavaliers (1988)
Sandra Johnston, Hold In (2012)
Bob Sloan, System (1969)
Lisa Byrne, Taxi III: Stand Up and Cry Like a Man (2007)
Una Walker, Surveiller (2004)
Miriam de Burca, Dogs Have no Religion (2003)
Ciara Finnegan, Switch (1997)
Moira McIvor, Hands, Rosary (1996); Feet (1996); Candles (1996)
COLLECTIVE HISTORIES – THE ORIGIN OF THE GTG COLLECTION
Our Collection project emerged from our ten-year Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art series, an ambitious ten-year series of exhibitions and publications whose aim was to form, collectively, a significant archive of Northern Irish Art from 1945 to the present. Central to the project was an acknowledgement that there are many versions of history.
Collective Histories comprised twelve instalments realised over a ten-year period. Each instalment featured a different guest curator, selected to make their particular specialist knowledge and lived experience accessible to audiences. In the absence of any relevant permanent public collection, the project set out to create a useful historical context from which audiences and educators could engage with the stories of this place through the art of our time.