Not Alone continues in Rome

For the past two weeks, our touring exhibition ‘Not Alone’ has been installed in the Roman home of curator Micol di Veroli and exhibited to the world through her Instagram. Once Micol unpacked the artworks (under the curious gaze of her beautiful cat!), she displayed them amongst her own belongings, and wrote about impressions and inspirations she has drawn from them.

She wrote: “When the pandemic hit us, the world seemed to have stopped. It didn’t take us long to realize how the pandemic could block some things, while others continued to flow inexorably and untouched. With the lockdown in place, millions of people have been confined to their homes. Art has been a companion for many, with artists and museums feeling the need to keep the relationship with their audience alive simply by changing the “spatial dimension”, and by proposing the cultural content via social platforms including Facebook and Instagram. From these assumptions, Not Alone was born, an exhibition involving 8 Irish artists who responded to the call from the Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast…”

Here are her writings and pictures of the exhibition so far.

‘To think about things together that appear to be separate’ by John Rainey, 2020. Parian porcelain.

“During the lockdown, thousands of women were forced to share an apartment with an abusive partner or relative. “To think about things together that appear to be separate” is the title of John Rainey’s work borrowed from an essay on intersectional feminism by Angela Davis. The nineties mark the beginning of the third feminist wave. From here, something begins to change. A new awareness is in the air. We realize that until that moment feminism had always spoken exclusively for women, alongside women. And not only. It was just a certain type of women: Western, white, healthy, wealthy. Therefore, there was an urgent need for inclusion. It was time to speak for all those women whose voices are further oppressed due to various personal characteristics, such as sexual orientation, origins, culture of belonging. Hands intertwined with the colours of the Pride flag want to remind us that privileges are not a merit but to defend those who have less than us. “


The Second Shift: On Crumbs of Shadow by Clare Gallagher, 2020. Dryer Lint, Dimensions Variable

“’If you want to be an artist, make all the men you want but don’t have a family’, said Nanda Vigo, undisputed lady of design and of an original artistic research centered on light. In short, being a woman, mother and an artist at the same time hasn’t always been easy. Many artists have given up their careers after giving birth to a child. Clare Gallagher is an artist and a mother. In the series of photographs called “The Second Shift“ she captured the B-side of the life of a woman artist, who returns home and is taking care of her family and housework.  The Second Shift: On Crumbs of Shadow is the testimony to the hidden work faced by a woman on a daily basis.”


Sutured by Sharon Kelly, 2020. Scrim, thread

“Sharon Kelly’s practice in recent years has focused on the areas of human experience and the body. In 2018, he she created the “Mind Fuel“ cycle, a survey on the body of athletes under stress. Subsequently her his interest shifted to the body / mind relationship and disease. In the first months of 2020, she was a BSR fellow, and this work represents the cycle carried out in Rome. The work poised between ex-voto and a museum find of human anatomy takes us inside the “Clootie Wells“ or the fabric fountains, an old Irish tradition linked to healing. Pieces of cloth are immersed in the water of the sacred well and then tied to a branch, while a prayer invokes “the spirit of good”. According to tradition, as the rag disintegrates over time, the disease vanishes.”

Not Alone will be with Micol for another week, and then it will continue on it’s journey, travelling next to Amsterdam. Follow its travels on Instagram!

‘Not Alone’ continues its journey in Italy


Our exhibition in a bottle is in Rome, installed by curator Manuela Pacella in her home. Manuela has a deep interest in the the history and art of Northern Ireland, since curating the Patria Interiore / Inner Homeland exhibition here at the GTG in 2012, and then being selected in 2013 for the ICI’s Curatorial Intensive at the CCA in Derry and for the International Residency at Flax Art Studios in Belfast.

Manuela documented her version of ‘Not Alone’ on Instagram, and shared her thoughts on having pieces of Belfast with her again. This is her essay about Sharon Kelly‘s ‘Sutured‘ 2020 piece.


“Among the last activities carried out before the lockdown was a studio visit to the British School at Rome at the newly arrived Sharon Kelly, from Belfast, whose light but rather tough sculpture in scrim and red thread I just set up. The anatomical parts remind me of the ones she was drawing at the studio in Rome. […] she spoke of portions of gestures of caring, of caring for each other and I saw so much disease. ‘Sutured’ is now on a small passing way of my house; portions of fabric are connected to each other to form parts of a body through a fiery red thread, at times the same features of arteries; I still see, in that red thread that joins a real suture, a desire to put back together the shards of a vase broken too many years ago. […] My home is now your home. But my home has become sacred since I missed it more than human contact, since I risked seeing it either a few hundred meters away from me, since I know my parents will never see it again, since I decided to take care of it as if it were full of sutures still red, like those of Sharon’s thread, my first artist met after months of forced separation from my previous life and last contact that preceded a global isolation.”

At the end of this week, Manuela will pack the exhibition up and send it on to the next curator – but it’s not going so far this time, just across the city to curator Micol di Veroli!

Follow Not Alone’s journey on our Instagram.

‘Not Alone’ departs for Rome!


Our touring exhibition ‘Not Alone’ has left Bologna, and is on its way to Rome!

Carefully packed up by our first curator Chiara Matteucci, the artworks will now travel 400km across Italy to the home of Manuela Pacella in Rome. Manuela is an independent curator and writer, and she has visited and worked in Northern Ireland many times in the last decade, including guest curating exhibitions in the Golden Thread and at the MAC, Belfast.

We can’t wait to see her interpretation of the exhibition! (And fingers crossed everything arrives in one piece!).

Make sure to follow us on Instagram to see the arrival, unpacking and installation of ‘Not Alone’ in its second show in Italy.


‘Not Alone’ touring exhibition now in Bologna


The Golden Thread Gallery’s unique touring exhibition ‘Not Alone’ arrived in Bologna on 30th August. Curator Chiara Matteucci unpacked and installed the artworks in her home, and has been sharing her iteration of the exhibition online for the past week on social media. She’s also shared her own perspective on the project, and where she believes it fits in the field of exhibition-making. Chiara writes:

“The title ‘Not Alone” comes from a Police song, Message in a Bottle. During the quarantine, how many of us experienced a sense of alienation without being lost on a remote island? That nostalgia for social life, human contact, and the possibility of seeing live artworks, is the emotion that moves the project at its beginning; in parallel with the necessity to create something different, able to re-enact old mechanisms and to get people used to the wait, to their right of taking their time to do everything, even experience an exhibition.”


Sign of Distress, Version 1. Black Lives Matter March. Washington DC. June 4th 2020 & Sign of Distress, Version 2. Black Lives Matter March. Washington DC. June 4th 2020 2020 Joy Gerrard, with To think about things together that appear to be separate 2020 John Rainey

“Almost all of the artists involved decided to create something concrete, more traditional (if we can still use this term), albeit all of them were free to create whatever they want, except for one condition: the artwork had to be able to travel in a bottle. The fact that the artists decided to use traditional media, from sculptures to paintings, to printed photographs, make me think… Is this a coincidence? Or is it a stance, a necessity to take a step back from the digital world? If it’s the latter, is it correct to take that distance?”


Sutured 2020 Sharon Kelly

“The migration of the Art World online has separated intellectuals in two currents: those who are pro digital and those against, who consider the Internet as a short-term solution.  But during this unusual period, we’ve all been grateful to the web and its potentialities. All the art members, from institutions to artists and curators, have tried to exploit as much as they can the digital world to keep themself (and us) alive. Instagram takeovers, podcasts, virtual tours, but also online performances were all been ways to share and make art everywhere. This possibility of being connected with people who comes from the other part of the world, that they might never afford to come overseas to see an exhibition, it is definitely something that we can’t neglect, and it is, in my opinion, the best quality of the Web.”


Disappear 2020 Megan Doherty [on wall] with Through A Pane H91X6XN – BT180AJ 3, 7, 8, 9, 12, 14, 19, 20 2020 Ailbhe Greaney [on table, left] and Glass Tower 2020 Graham Gingles

“This democratic aspect of the world wide web, connecting all the public realm with the cultural system – it belongs to the home, too.”

“Before considering it as a cage, the house has been our refuge and sometimes an art space. To demonstrate this, the Art History is full of subversive examples of exhibitions which took place outside the museums and the famous white cube. Digging more, there is a long thread of art exhibitions in houses that starts from 1986 with the famous Chambres d’Amis at Gand, it passed through The Kitchen curated by Olbrist and arrives at nowadays.”


The Second Shift: On Crumbs of Shadow 2020 Clare Gallagher

“If the art system has tried to make Art eternal, neutral, and exclusive, the house gave it back to where it belongs: to the real world. In the house indeed the artworks start to live again, the fruition of them changes and merges with the emotional sphere of the house itself, full of the memories of its owner. Inside the house there are no more hierarchies, it is accessible to everyone; the cultural elite is replaced with the mass. Exactly as the digital realm has done from its beginning, and more and more with the arrival of social media, using its devices to make Art available in a click.”


Kairos 2020 Chloe Austin [on monitor] with
The Second Shift: On Crumbs of Shadow 2020 Clare Gallagher
She is 2020 Chloe Austin
Glass Tower 2020 Graham Gingles

GTG presents ‘Not Alone’, a unique touring exhibition for our strange new world…


Inspired by a fragment of an old song, Golden Thread Gallery director Peter Richards had an idea for an entirely new kind of exhibition, one that could overcome the distances forced between artists and curators worldwide by the Covid-19 pandemic. Not Alone is an exhibition in a bottle, containing eight new works from some of the leading artists on this island: Graham Gingles, Joy Gerrard, Sharon Kelly, John Rainey, Chloe Austin, Ailbhe Greaney, Megan Doherty and Clare Gallagher. Each has created a piece of art tiny or portable enough to fit inside a glass bottle, yet powerful enough to convey vast philosophies, stories and ideas, and endless possibilities of interpretation.

Packed up, the exhibition will now be sent out into our strange new world to international curators who will each mount the exhibition/s in their own homes. Installing and arranging the works in their space as they see fit, they will each create a new configuration, new context and new connections for the exhibition.

They will then pack Not Alone back into its bottle, and send it on to the next destination. At this moment in time it is on its way to Bologna, Italy, where the first curator, Chiara Matteucci, is waiting.

And after that, it will go to Rome, and then Amsterdam, and then… to destinations as yet unknown. It may never return, but we will follow its journey around Europe and share each iteration of the exhibition online.

Read the full story of the inspiration for this unique exhibition for our times, including more information on the artists and the artworks, in the presentation below.


Media enquiries:

Mary Stevens, Exhibitions Officer, Golden Thread Gallery info@gtgallery.co.uk / 028 90 330920 / www.goldenthreadgallery.co.uk

GTG Director and curator Peter Richards is available for interview, as are the artists involved.

Notes to editors:
Golden Thread Gallery (GTG) has played an important role in the provision of contemporary visual art in Belfast and Northern Ireland since it was established in 2001. Our mission is to present quality and innovative artistic programmes that capture the diversity of contemporary arts practice, and which engage, educate, challenge and inspire. We strive to build and engage the widest possible audience for contemporary arts, extending the reach of the arts, nurturing a deep understanding and enjoyment of current visual arts practice within the broader community, while developing, supporting and promoting the work of contemporary Northern Irish artists and visual arts practice. The GTG is a recognised charity, and our core funders are the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council.

GTG Artists Present: On Visibility by John Rainey


Sculptor John Rainey looks back at his 2016 solo show ‘On Visibility’, with this new online presentation exploring the exhibition; a series of sculptures in porcelain, silicone and mixed media. 

On Visibility considers the persistence of images, mediated disclosure and slippages between form and formlessness in the creation of digital representation.”



About the Artist: 

John Rainey is a sculptor based in Northern Ireland, working mainly with 3D print technologies and ceramics. He completed his master’s degree at the Royal College of Art, London, in 2012. John is an associated artist of Marsden Woo Gallery, London, where his first solo exhibition was held in 2013. In the same year, he completed a four-month residency at Konstfack University for the Creative Arts as the Anglo-Swedish Society’s Visual Arts Scholar and was selected to produce a large-scale installation for “COLLECT 2013 Project Space” at the Saatchi Gallery, London. Recent exhibitions include ‘Flayground’ at the BERG Gallery, Stockholm and ‘Crowded Thresholds’ at the National Design and Craft Gallery, Kilkenny.

On Visibility is the result of Rainey’s ACES award, which he received from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2014.

GTG Artists Present is funded by the Community Foundation NI.