Lines of Thought: Ulster Museum

Today, I visited the Ulster Museum to see this wonderful exhibition.

‘Placing contemporary artists side by side with master draftsmen across five centuries, Lines of thought explores the history of drawing as a thinking medium, giving us  insight into the minds of some of the world’s greatest artists in operation.

Bringing together seventy drawings selected from the British Museum’s unparalleled graphic collection, Lines of thought emphasises the continuing vitality and fundamental nature of drawing, and its importance for artists from Michelangelo to Mondrian, Rembrandt to Rachel Whiteread, Piranesi to Picasso. What unites all of these artists, from the Renaissance through to contemporary practitioners and all those in-between, is the use of drawing as a way of thinking on paper.

There are five sections to explore:

  • The Likeness of a Thought
  • Brainstorming
  • Enquiry and Experiment
  • Insight and Association
  • Development and Decisions’–Drawing-from-Michelangelo-to-now


Performance Art: Writer’s Square Belfast

I attended an event at Saint Anne’s Cathedral today and I noticed some kind of performance art taking place in Writer’s Square, Belfast. I thought it looked very interesting and I took some photographs. I was not not exactly sure what each performer’s art meant but I think that’s okay as I read that;

‘Performance artists often challenge the audience to think in new and unconventional ways, break conventions of traditional arts, and break down conventional ideas about “what art is.’ ‘Performance art is presented to an audience within a fine art context. Performance may be either scripted or unscripted, random or carefully orchestrated; spontaneous or otherwise carefully planned with or without audience participation. The performance can be live or via media; the performer can be present or absent. It can be any situation that involves four basic elements: time, space, the performer’s body, or presence in a medium, and a relationship between performer and audience. Performance art can happen anywhere, in any type of venue or setting and for any length of time. The actions of an individual or a group at a particular place and in a particular time constitute the work.’



Patrick’s Mysterious Adventure, at Saint Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast

Today I attended the Patrick’s Mysterious Adventure, at Saint Anne’s Cathedral,  an event aimed at helping people of all ages to discover first-hand the adventurous life story of St Patrick though an exhibition and interactive story trail.

Actors re-enacted the tale from Patrick’s capture by Irish pirates to his return to serve the people of Ireland he loved so much. There were also workshops, Irish dancers, circus performers, Viking battle re-enactments and much more!





A Room of One’s Own: Carlo Gébler & Ruth Padel.Seamus Heaney HomePlace

A Room of One’s Own: Carlo Gébler & Ruth Padel.

Make your study the unregarded floor.

Do you really need ‘A Room of One’s Own’ or should a writer be able to write anywhere that inspiration strikes? Poet, novelist, conversationalist, critic and author Ruth Padel appeared with Carlo Gébler at Seamus Heaney HomePlace on Sat 11 Feb at 4pm to debate the freedom and tyranny of the writer’s desk.

The event took place in the Helicon lecture theatre.

In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf hypothesized as to what would have become of Shakespeare’s sister if she had existed: ‘She died young—alas, she never wrote a word’ and added that a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction’.

Carlo Gébler talked about the study being a force field and referred to the importance of the Chinese’s scholar study, replete with pens and parchment and a day bed for resting and perhaps smoking opium. He has a study which contains items from his father’s and possibly his grandfather’s study in his home in Enniskillen but he rarely writes there preferring public spaces. He spoke of his difficult relationship with his father and he reflects on these difficulties in Confessions of a Catastrophist.

Ruth Padel says she only uses her study in Camden for printing and recommends writing in the comfort of your own bedroom, armed with plenty of tea and coffee. Ruth quoted from Seamus Heaney’s ‘Lightenings’ (Seeing Things)


Roof it again. Batten down. Dig in.

Drink out of tin. Know the scullery cold,

A latch, a door-bar, forged tongs and a grate.

Touch the crossbeam, drive iron in a wall,

Hang a line to verify the plumb

From lintel, coping-stone and chimney-breast.

Relocate the bedrock in the threshold.

Take squarings from the recessed gable pane.

Make your study the unregarded floor.

Sink every impulse like a bolt. Secure

The bastion of sensation. Do not waver

Into language. Do not waver in it.

She also talked about Seamus Heaney’s essay Preoccupations where the poet describes a childhood haunt:

“I spent time in the throat of an old willow tree at the end of the farmyard. It was a hollow tree, with gnarled, spreading roots, a soft, perishing bark and a pithy inside. Its mouth was like the fat and solid opening in a horse’s collar, and, once you squeezed in through it, you were at the heart of a different life, looking out on the familiar yard as if it were suddenly behind a pane of strangeness.”

She also quoted John Keats’ ‘Ode to a Nightingale’:

‘Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam

Of perilous seas in fairy lands forlorn.’


Emily Dickson’s poem ‘I dwell in Possibility’

I dwell in Possibility—

A fairer House than Prose–

More numerous of Windows—

Superior–for Doors–

Of Chambers as the Cedars—

Impregnable of Eye—

I enjoyed the event and the wisdom I garnered from these two writers was that it is more important not to be tyrannised by your study and use it in whatever way best serves your muse. The most important thing is as Seamus Heaney says, is not to waver:

The true and durable path into and through experience involves being true to the actual givens of your lives. True to your own solitude, true to your own secret knowledge. Because oddly enough, it is that intimate, deeply personal knowledge that links us most vitally and keeps us most vitally connected to one another. (Seamus Heaney, Wise Words to Graduates)


Stop Lookin’ At Photographs!Locky Morris


I noticed this poster last Thursday when I was heading to the Lanyon Building, QUB.

‘Stop Lookin’ At Photographs! comprises a series of small-scale assemblages from recent years by Derry-based artist Locky Morris. Featuring a range of new and unseen work, the exhibition focuses, in part, on an almost obsessive interplay of the photographic image within his practice.

Morris’s work often tends to reflect on the complexities and intricacies of his immediate terrain, touching on a broad range of subjects, from the highly personal and familial to the political. Renowned for his early work that explicitly dealt with The Troubles in Northern Ireland, Morris has also received acclaim for his quietly powerful and intimate work, infused with a dark wit and often triggered by the detritus and abject in the everyday. Manipulating material/s in surprising ways, he produces objects that at first may seem ordinary, but gain importance as layered narratives unfold to the viewer.

In addition to his gallery-based practice – in which he works across a variety of media – Morris has made numerous works and interventions in the public realm. He is also a recording and performing musician and songwriter. Locky Morris will discuss his work in conversation with the Naughton Gallery’s Ben Crothers as part of the gallery’s ‘Art in the A.M.’ series from 9.30 to 10.30 am at the pocket, 69 University Road.







Titanic Memorial Garden: Belfast City Hall

I visited The Titanic Memorial Garden, Belfast City Hall, recently.

It was offically opened on 15 April 2012, the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking. The garden is set on two levels with the upper level containing a nine metre long plinth, inscribed with the names of those who died on RMS Titanic and a lower grassed terrace surrounding the existing monument.

Memorial plinth

The garden’s memorial plinth supports 15 bronze plaques which list, in alphabetical order, the names of 1,512 people who perished on RMS Titanic.When the plaques were being designed, we believed that a complete list of names was already in existence, however this was not the case.Many existing lists documented the First Class, Second Class and Steerage, but did not necessarily include all the crew members, the Guarantee Group, the postal workers and the musicians.This is the first time that the names of everyone who perished have been recorded on one monument. The Belfast List, as it is now known, is a key feature of the memorial garden. (adapted from


The inscription reads:

Erected to the imperishable memory of those gallant Belfast men whose names are here inscribed and who lost their live on the 15th April 1912, by the foundering of the Belfast built R.M.S. Titanic through collision with an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.

Their devotion to duty and heroic conduct through which the lives of many of those on board have left a record of calm fortitude and self-sacrifice which will remain an inspiring example to succeeding generations.

‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,’