Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast and Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda announce a collaborative exhibition partnership presenting WE ARE HERE, Artists’ Moving Image from the British Council Collection and LUX.
Exploring themes of marginality and its representation, community, storytelling, world-building and critically reframing histories, these linked exhibitions present films from SONGS OF A FORGOTTEN PAST, one of five artists’ film programmes curated by Tendai John Mutambu for the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, and LUX, an international arts agency that supports and promotes artists’ moving image practices.
The two exhibitions and programme of events at Golden Thread Gallery and Highlanes Gallery are separate but in conversation with each other; different interpretations from different places, with visits from each side of the border to the other gallery offering a chance to see the films from each other’s ‘here’.
HOW DID WE GET TO: WE ARE HERE? At the Golden Thread Gallery
The artists’ films being shown across both our main galleries explore possibilities for new ways of seeing the world from the point of view of those who are marginalised and excluded from dominant cultural narratives and images; those which reflect an accepted, assumed meaning of ‘being from here’ and ‘belonging’. Reframing the question of how we all came to be here offers a prompt to disrupt, to play with and perhaps even to move beyond old ideas.
Northern Ireland, overwhelmingly white for centuries, is now experiencing unprecedented levels of migration. What is it like for new arrivals here to have to navigate the complexities and nuance of Northern Ireland’s identity politics? Sectarianism has been a poisonously fertile ground for racism in some areas. The shifting territories of Brexit and Covid create fear and uncertainty, easily turned upon those who ‘don’t belong’. Yet there has also been significant solidarity, genuine welcome and a recognition among NI citizens that those who come ‘from outside’ can represent an opportunity to move beyond long-calcified beliefs about ‘them’ and ‘us’.
On this island, at this time, with changing populations and ever-shifting senses of identity, engaging with a different way of exploring relationships to home, place, nationality and representation may perhaps lead to many ‘heres’ that are unexpected.