GTG Artists Present: Sinéad O’Donnell


We are very excited to bring you this unique film by acclaimed performance artist Sinéad O’Donnell, in which she looks back at three iconic performance pieces from across her career, exploring themes of isolation: ‘Prerequisite‘ (1999), ‘Headspace: White Cube‘ (2014) which was first performed in Northern Ireland in the GTG in 2015, and ‘Red Clay Twins‘ (2018).



About the Artist

Sinéad O’Donnell has worked in performance, installation, site and time-based art for the past 20 years. Originally from Dublin and based in Belfast, Sinéad studied sculpture at the University of Ulster, textiles in Dublin and visual performance and time-based practices at Dartington College of Arts, graduating with distinction in 2003. Her work has been presented at Art of the Lived Experiment, Bluecoat, Liverpool, UK, Voices Travel, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan (2014), Asiatopia, Bangkok Arts & Cultural Centre, Thailand (2013), Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia, (2013), Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland, (2012), Southbank Centre, London (2012).

Sinéad was the first performance artist to be awarded a Major Individual Artist award by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2017/18.  

Her work explores identity, borders and barriers through encounters with territory and the territorial. She sets up actions or situations that demonstrate complexities, contradictions or commonality between medium and discipline, timing and spontaneity, intuition and methodology, artist and audience. She uses photography, video, text and collage to record her performances which often reveals an ongoing interest in the co-existence of other women and systems of kinship and identity.

Sinead’s work with the GTG includes the remarkable CAUTION in 2012, the culmination of a two year project commissioned for the Cultural Olympiad to coincide with the London 2012 Paralympics; and ‘Headspace: White Cube’ performed for the first time in Northern Ireland at the GTG as part of the launch of Vanishing Futures: Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art XII.

GTG Artists Present is funded by Community Foundation NI.


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.


GTG Artists Present: The Illusion of Purpose by Victoria J. Dean


In response to the current situation the Golden Thread Gallery is engaging with artists and audiences in a different way. Thanks to funding from the Community Foundation NI, over the next few months we’ll be inviting Northern Ireland based artists to create a new digital exhibition of some of their past work with the GTG online, on our website and social media channels.

We’re delighted that our first artist is Victoria J. Dean, a photographic artist based in Belfast. Works from her series ‘The Illusion of Purpose’ were shown in our Project Space in 2018 as part of our ‘There and not there’ exhibition, alongside works by Sharon Murphy.

For GTG Artists Present Victoria has created a new digital presentation of the works shown in the gallery, with additional works from the series and a fascinating personal reflection on the project. Watch it here, or for a subtitled version please watch on our YouTube channel.

Her photographs are notable for their lack of people, yet they are not simple landscapes or seascapes, the structures are key. It is hard to tell exactly what the structures are; indeed, some of them appear so unlikely given their locale that they appear more like an illusion than fact. Their unlikeliness presents more questions than answers. Are the structures superimposed into the photograph? What is their purpose? Where are they? Dean deliberately does not give us the answers to any of those questions. Her fascination with how humans interpret what they see, how they organise, what they build and how it all contributes to society remains unanswered.

(c) 2020 Victoria J. Dean

About the Artist

Victoria J. Dean (b. Belfast, 1980) is a photographic artist based in Northern Ireland. She has exhibited and been published internationally including in 2018: Off_festival Bratislava: ‘The Anthropocene’, Slovakia; ‘LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards’, Klompching Gallery, New York; ‘There and not there’, the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast; ‘188th RHA Annual Exhibition’, Dublin; ‘137th RUA Annual Exhibition’, Ulster Museum, Belfast, and previously: ‘On the Border between Time and Loss’, Galway Arts Centre, 2016; ‘Emerging’ (Slideshow Night), Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, and ‘Royal Academy Summer Exhibition’, London, 2015; ‘Circulation(s) 2014: Festival de la Jeune Photographie Européenne’, Paris, 2014; ‘Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography’, Belfast Exposed & The MAC, Belfast, 2013, and Magenta Foundation’s ‘Flash Forward’, Boston, London and Toronto, 2013-14; and ‘PDN’s 30 Emerging Photographers’, New York, 2007. Represented by the Golden Thread Gallery (Belfast), Dean featured in ‘SCOPE’ New York and ‘Elective Perspective’, Galeria Arsenał in Białystok, Poland in 2010.

Dean received the Royal Ulster Academy Award for Outstanding Students on obtaining an MFA Photography with distinction from Belfast School of Art at Ulster University, and was selected by Olivia Arthur (Magnum) and Anna Sparham (Curator, Museum of London) in Source Magazine’s ‘Graduate Photography Online 2017 Selections’. A winner in the ‘LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards 2017’, Dean was also a finalist in the Klompching Gallery’s ‘FRESH 2017’. ‘The Illusion of Purpose’ book was published by Another Place Press in 2018.

Dean’s work is part of the David Kronn Collection, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Collection, the Office of Public Works State Art Collection (Ireland), and a number of private collections in the UK and Ireland.


New! More free GTG art activity sheets to download


Here are some more art activity sheets from our exhibitions for you to print off and colour in!

First up, some mixed-up bodies to imagine and draw, based on the ‘Exquisite Corpse‘ idea used by Surrealist artists like Frida Kahlo, Yves Tanguy and Marcel Duchamp, and more recently by Jake and Dinos Chapman.

Next, an activity sheet based on our exhibition ‘The Telepaths’ from last year, by renowned Northern Irish artist Susan MacWilliam. In the exhibition Susan used archive photographs of women in the early part of the 20th Century as part of her exploration of ideas and imagery related to historical investigations of telepathy and extra-sensory perception.

Finally an art activity that you need to do to music! Cheesy, cheerful pop is our favourite! This activity sheet was created for Oona Doherty‘s solo exhibition, ‘Death of a Hunter‘, which was the first exhibition to combine dance and narrative story-telling into a visual arts exhibition which blurred the distinctions between art forms.

Don’t forget to send us a photo of your finished activity sheet so we can add it to the online GTG Junior Gallery!

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.

Gallery Assistant Job

Gallery Assistant – closing date 28th February 2020

The Golden Thread Gallery is seeking an enthusiastic and reliable Gallery Assistant to provide assistance and support across the Gallery’s programme and range of activities. Responsible to the Senior Management, this role will include liaising with artists, institutions and funders, general administration including daily financial procedures, exhibition assistance including condition reporting and visitor experience. This role offers a fantastic opportunity for an early-career Arts professional in one of Northern Ireland’s leading contemporary visual art galleries.

Working Hours: Part-time, 24hpw (more hours may be available at peak times).

Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday. Hours determined by a monthly rota and will include evenings and weekends. Applicants must be flexible to the needs of the organisation.

Salary: £8.75ph (full time equivalent £18,200)

Leave: 28 days annual holiday pro rata (including Bank Holidays)

Contract: This is a 12-month contract position, with possible extension up to a maximum of 23 months. A probationary period will apply. Please note that this appointment is subject to continuing funding/grant aid. Employment is subject to funding and the contract may terminate earlier if funding is withdrawn.

Closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 28th February 2020. Applications must be emailed to info@gtgallery.co.uk

Application Packs and Monitoring Form can be downloaded below, or emailed on request.

Disclaimer: This document does not constitute an offer of employment nor forms any part of any contract.