Gallery, Ulster University Belfast Campus
25th March – 6th April: 10.00am – 6.00pm
An exhibition by Rita Duffy.
You are invited to visit The Souvenir Shop, where familiar domestic commodities are transformed into art works, exploring the nuances of Irish life. Initially commissioned as part of the 1916 centenary commemorations in Dublin, each venue inspires a new iteration with additional products being added.
The project has travelled worldwide and now comes to Belfast. This is an opportunity to engage with a unique interactive project, essentially an exploration of the Irish shared lived experience. Historical, political and social events are reworked and presented to the public as irreverent thought-provoking everyday commodities – tins, and jars are released from the larder to question our cultural divisions, blankets from the hot press, pharmacy products – all approached and presented to reaffirm and examine the commonality of our essential human needs alongside cultural diversity. With a historical event, we not only have to bear witness, that is to tell what happened and address the needs of ghosts – we also have to interpret the needs of people today. We need the understanding of art – to identify, even unify, to give meaning, just as a painting is colour that makes sense – so a story is life that makes sense.
Rita Duffy is one of Northern Ireland’s foremost artists, renowned for her feminist work on the Northern Irish ‘Troubles’ (1968-98) and Irish history. She received her BA and MA in Fine Art from the University of Ulster. In 1990 she was awarded the Gold Medal at the Royal Ulster Academy, in 2005 she was an Associate Reader at Goldsmiths, and between 2009-10 she held a Leverhulme Fellowship with the Transitional Justice Institute (Ulster University), researching the role of visual art in post-conflict societies. Her work has been exhibited internationally, from the Ulster Museum and Dublin’s Hugh Lane, to London’s Flowers Gallery and Zagreb’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
Supported by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.