GTG Junior Gallery wins ‘Best New Gallery’ Audience Delight Award!


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!

GTG Revisits ‘Noise of Silence: Japanese Art Now’


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.

Takahiro Suzuki in Castlecourt Shopping Centre, Belfast, August 2019

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!

IKIRO by Takahiro Suzuki in Belfast, August 2019

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.

Tokyo Landscape 2020 2018, Shiro Masuyama
Tokyo Landscape 2020 2018, Shiro Masuyama

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.

Still from Making the Perfect Donut 2017-2018, Kyunchome
Still from Making the Perfect Donut 2017-2018, Kyunchome

The exhibition also included video works by Takuro Kotaka, Hikaru Suzuki, Marico Aoki and Atsushi Yamamoto.

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.

Atsushi Yamamoto and friends, 2014, Belfast
Spirit Disco 2017, Marico Aoki
The Village’s Bid for UFO 2017, Takuro Kotaka

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.

Artworks by Fuyuka Shindo in the GTG, August 2019. Photograph by Sophie Daly.
Who is this? 2015, Fuyuka Shindo

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.

Green on the Mountain 2003-2019, Midori Mitamura. Photograph by Sophie Daly.

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!

GTG Virtual Family Art Workshops & Junior Gallery!


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!

Yusuke painting with mud! August 2019

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!

GTG Temporary Closure


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.

Further update on Covid-19 (coronavirus) from the GTG

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.

GTG response to the current Covid-19 situation

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:

Department of Health NI

Tourism NI

Government travel advice

Welcoming the newest member of the GTG team!

Welcome Chiara!

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 backgrounds.

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 archaeological find.

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.”

Celebrating IWD at the GTG

Happy International Women’s Day! We are celebrating by looking back at some of the exceptional women artists who have exhibited at Golden Thread Gallery in the past. We’re proud to have ensured that 50% of our exhibitions over our history have been by women, and glad to play our part in the improving representation of female artists.

Our brilliant volunteers have written about a few selected women whose exhibitions here in Belfast at the GTG directly challenged sexism and patriarchal values. Starting with the extraordinary Barbara Hammer, as chosen by Katharine Paisley.

“Hammer is considered the foremost pioneer of queer feminist cinema. For over 40 years her work has been challenging the straight, male-dominated iconography of the female body and sexuality. Through her films, performances, photography and installations Hammer rejects the male definitions and representations of women in film and photography. She negates the male gaze and celebrates lesbian desire through the active participation of women, countering the passive roles afforded to them in traditional cinema. Other past works have explored queer histories, such as the biographies of the artists Hannah Hoch and Claude Cahun.

Barbara Hammer exhibited 3 film works in the Golden Thread in November 2018 as part of Outburst Queer Arts Festival, Dyketactics! (1974), No No Nooky TV (1987) and Bedtime Stories I, II, III (1988).”

The newest member of the GTG team, Chiara Matteuci, has written about two radical women we were thrilled to welcome to the GTG: Sarah Maple and Margaret Harrison.

“Margaret Harrison is an engaged artist, always in the forefront of addressing social concerns and political controversy. She’s one of the founders of the London Women’s Liberation Art Group and she’s probably best known for the closing of her exhibition in 1971 by the police due to her sexually charged works.

In 2015 the Golden Thread Gallery hosted Harrison’s first solo exhibition on the island of Ireland. We are them, they are us included several seminal works, created at various stages of her career, alongside a number of more recent pieces. This exhibition explored many of the themes common in Harrison’s work, like her concern with the property rights and land ownership, and the issues of gender inequality and the objectification of women in popular culture.

Harrison has always explored the transformations of our age, from the women’s labour within the installation Greenham Common (1989), where she recreates a portion of the perimeter fence from Greenham Common military base, to the consideration of female gender in the contemporary society. In Scents of Identity (1993) young, often ethic minority, cosmetics salesgirls are depicted in polished, glossy department store surroundings.

Meanwhile, in He’s Only a Bunny Boy (1971), she draws Hugh Hefner posing proactively in a corset, stockings and bunny ears.

This hilarious artwork was part of her first solo exhibition, the one which the police closed after only one day. Things have changed since then, but not the way Harrison question the world, always with humour and a rebel gaze. 

And speaking of rebels… Sarah Maple is a visual artist based in the UK. Her mixed identity (half Britannic and half Islamic) is one of the major themes investigated by the artist, always with a wonderful (for someone outrageous) spontaneity. She’s currently taking part at the exhibition “Don’t ask me where I’m from” at Aga Khan Toronto dedicated to migration.

Your Body (2007)

In 2014 her artworks were exhibited at the Golden Thread Gallery. God is a Feminist was a journey through Maple’s diverse, engaging, challenging and sometimes controversial practice.

Her artworks are very current and avant garde, especially those related to the subject of feminism: just have a look at the painting “Menstruate with pride” from 2010-11, and think about the current issue of the tampon tax! “

Menstruate With Pride (2010-11)

We’re looking forward to presenting our audiences with more outstanding exhibitions by women artists in 2020/21, including Joy Gerrard‘s first major solo exhibition in Belfast, ‘A Crowd Exists’, coming up in May.

Discover the GTG Bookshop with our team’s top picks

Did you know the GTG has one of the best art bookshops in Northern Ireland? Our shop features beautiful art hardcovers, rare exhibition catalogues, archive and current magazines and definitive texts on Northern Irish art and artists, like our ‘Collective Histories‘ series. Sales from the bookshop all go to support the Gallery, and many of the books are available in our online shop too.

To help you choose your next buy, each week we’ll highlight one of our GTG Team favourites. Starting this week with ‘Are You Adult?’ by Whitenoise, as chosen and reviewed by our awesome volunteer Katharine Paisley.


“Flicking through the vast array of books on offer in the gallery’s library, my attention is grabbed by one title in particular, ‘Are You Adult?’. Quite appropriate timing seeing as tomorrow I will be turning twenty four. A figure which sounds a lot more daunting to me than twenty three. No longer within the catchment for a Translink ylink card, adulthood seems to be cementing itself around me.

However, I am not alone in my horror; raising a smile and an eyebrow the odd time, ‘Are you Adult?’ takes you on a joyous and sometimes satirical jaunt through the the exciting and occasionally hazardous journey into adulthood. With a mix of bold colourful fonts, humorous quotes and delicately illustrated pages, not only is it the epitome of Instagram aesthetic but also incredibly relatable.

Coming into their 18th year, Whitenoise paused to look back at how it matured from a start up to a fully fledged studio. Hand-drawn illustrations, photography, 3D-modelling and intricately layered Photoshop files produced by the Whitenoise studio team, take us on a journey through the transition into adulthood; delving into the highs, the lows and everything in between. 

The book launch coincided with Belfast Culture Night, 2018, within an exhibition at Belfast Exposed displaying work created on the theme of growing up.

According to the studio’s founders the Two Marks, ‘…with this book we set ourselves the task of visualising what it was like to transition from childhood to the world of grown ups. Taking in the whole spread of emotions, be they positive, negative or ‘whatever’, in these pages you’ll find things that may spark your own memories, challenge your thinking and hopefully even raise a smile.’

It certainly did that for me.”


GTG awarded Black Santa Good Samaritan grant at St Anne’s Cathedral.

The GTG was honoured and thrilled to be one of the charities awarded Good Samaritan funding at a service in St Anne’s Cathedral last weekend. Our Exhibitions Officer Mary Stevens represented the team and attended the wonderful service in the Cathedral on Sunday 9th February. She was presented with the grant cheque by Tim McGarry and Olivia Nash.

The ‘Black Santa’ tradition at Belfast Cathedral was started more than 41 years ago by Dean Sammy Crooks.

Every year the annual Black Santa Sit-out takes place on the steps of St Anne’s Cathedral throughout the week before Christmas. All the money gathered is donated to a wide range of local charities who do important work for communities.

We’d like to thank Dean Stephen Forde and everyone at St Anne’s Cathedral so much for their generous support of our work!