It’s hard to picture for those who did not live through it what the troubles were like, the shootings, the bombings, the lost of a loved one. In Silent Testimony by Colin Davidson comes a different way of telling the story. Not a dramatic blockbuster film, or a thought-provoking play or a touristic re-telling of the story to entertain those with a morbid fascination with troubles sites.
These are the images of the people who have suffered as good as first hand. For although they might not have been the direct victims themselves they’re as good as. They’re as good as because they’re the ones left behind, the ones left wondering why it happened; why my loved one? Why me? What Davidson manages to do is capture on canvas with paints and a palet knife the suffering of a generation. The texture of the flesh in Colin Davidson’s portraits. These are people who have lived and who have suffered. The palet knife traces its way through the canvas, leaving it’s mark on the subject; just as the event associated with each person has left its mark on their lives. The eyes of each subject stare back at you with all the hurt, all the pain and all the humanity that their back story has left in their lives.
Silent Testimony is a very apt name for this exhibition because although each portrait comes with a back story for visitors to read, it’s the portraits that do the talking.
If you want to know what the troubles were about, go to this exhibition and read the stories on the faces of people who lived through it.
Silent Testimony is bring shown at the Nerve Visual Gallery, Ebrington, Derry until September and admission is free
The year 1968 was a year of revolution. From Philadelphia, to Paris to Prague people were on the march demanding their rights; no more were people willing to experience discrimination. The Lost Moment is an exhibition of photos from a number of flashpoints throughout the world. The exhibition starts with an immensely sized photo of Martin Luther King’s March to Selma Alabama in March 1965; one of the most decisive moments in the American civil rights movement. The photo’s symbolism is as immense as it’s stature and is the beginning of a well thought out exhibition. The collection of photographs, taken by some of the leading photojournalist’s of the 1960’s include photographs from not only the United States but also flashpoint areas throughout Europe including Paris during the student protests there, as well as Prague and Warsaw during protests against soviet control; protests which were so ruthlessly put down, and London, which has seen protests against several issues throughout the world. The photos in this exhibition are so atmospheric that they transport you in time and place. You can feel the tension, taste the air, drenched in smoke and fear. Juxtapo alongside these photos of far off places are ones which are more familiar to local audiences. From October 1968 with the start of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland to the attempted march from Belfast to Derry, The Lost Moment presents parallels between what was happening locally with what was happening in international cities throughout the world.
For some, these photographs and posters will bring back memories, for others they are bring to life what has only been previously heard anecdotally. The fact that the exhibition is being housed in a building which once housed the soldiers who were brought on to the streets where many of these same protests took place is an irony which surely cannot be lost on the audience. The Lost Moment, or at least part thereof will be on display during the Earigal Arts Festival in the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny Co. Donegal before moving on towards the end of the year to the photography gallery in Temple Bar, Dublin for the last few months of the year.
From serious documentary to comedy reflecting student life to vampires in the middle of rural Ireland, it was all to be seen at the second annual showcase of the BSc in Media Arts of the University of Ulster’s Magee campus. Speaking ahead of the showcase course director Tom Maguire spoke of the immense level of talent generated by students on the course. He also spoke of the newly opened creative industries institute which will pull together resources across academic and industry-based companies to create better opportunities for new graduates within the creative industries.
In all there were eight short films on show covering a number of a wide range of themes and issues. Although not all of the film’s on show are dedicated to hard hitting issues, what is noticeable is that the students; although not all local, have made their work from within the local community and in many cases about the local community. It would be unfair for Culture Journal to single out any one of these in particular for praise or criticism. Suficit to say that the quality was indeed reflective of professor Maguire’s high praise, the films on display showed a level of quality, imagination and creativity that bodes well for the future of local talent in the northwest.