The annual 4 Corners Festival got under way tonight with the launch of an art exhibition, ‘20 Artists: Religion and Spirituality’ at the Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts in North Belfast. The exhibition is curated by Bronagh Lawson and features works dealing with contemporary spirituality.
(Image: Bronagh Lawson with Jonathan Abernethy-Barkley, assistant minister at Fitzroy Presbyterian, and Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Carál Ní Chuilín)
It was fascinating to see the range of ways that local artists have creativity engaged with religion and spirituality, ranging from iconic depictions of Christ and the cross, images exploring the interplay of Christianity and other religious traditions, and paintings like Foss Artist’s playful depictions of church buildings with ‘small print’ descriptions like ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and ‘thank goodness it’s over!’
All pieces have emerged from the Belfast artistic community living and working in all parts of the city over the last few years but have never previously been shown together. The exhibition includes print, painting, sculpture and digital and runs through the duration of the festival (8 February). If you’re free during the day it’s a perfect opportunity to drop into the café (open 8.30 am-3.30 pm) for a visual treat and wee cuppa.
Lawson will also be hosting ‘Corners of the Circle: Art Exhibition in 4 Churches in 4 Corners,’ Saturday 31st January from 1pm – 4.30pm. The bus leaves from PS² Gallery, 18 Donegall St, Belfast, BT12 2GP at 1pm., and there will be refreshments at the Gallery beforehand.
The tour is rooted in Lawson’s experience of visiting more than 340 different church services in Belfast over the past six years, as documented on the description on the 4 Corners website:
After spending 13 years in cross border, cross community development work Bronagh Lawson returned to her artistic practice. Not a church goer at the time she attended a service in Dublin with a friend which led her to observe just how many different churches there were in East Belfast where she lived. With so many of Northern Irelands issues supposed to be about religion she decided to explore contemporary Belfast churchgoing and look again at what was really going on now. The result has been an odyssey of attending over 340 different church services over almost 6 years in all areas of greater Belfast, documenting the experience as she goes. Bronagh aims to visit every Church in Belfast for a service.
Corners of the circle, is the first ART piece to come out of this experience. Installed in four different churches around the city, Bronagh invites you to visit the different corners of the circle and guides you through her experience on the way, there will be an opportunity to ask questions.
Event Free BUT donations welcome towards the cost of the event.
The art also may be viewed during regular opening hours at each of the churches, i.e. before/after regular Sunday services or when the churches are open for other events during the week. The art is expected to remain in each of the churches for about a month.
The themes of this year’s festival are imagination and generosity. Click here for the full programme of events.