Donovan Wylie - 12 March to 23 April 2004
The Maze is a photographic exploration of one of the world's most famous prisons. For nearly thirty years the Maze prison, near the small town of Maze, ten miles outside Belfast, played a unique role in the Northern Ireland troubles. Built in 1976 at the instruction of Merlyn Rees, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to house 'special category' prisoners. It became a microcosm of the political conflict in Northern Ireland, with prisoners segregated according to their political beliefs and membership of paramilitary organizations. It was the scene of violent protests, hunger strikes, mass escapes and deaths of both prisoners and prison staff.
With the support of Brighton University and in conjunction with the National Museum of Film, Photography and Television in Bradford, the Northern Ireland Prison Service gave Donovan Wylie exclusive permission to photograph freely throughout the entire prison complex without supervision. The site has never been photographed extensively before. The result is a body of work which aims to document the physical structure of the place and at the same time, through the quantity and style of the photographs, to give the viewer some experience of the psychological impact of being inside the Maze.
The Maze is published by Granta and printed by Steidl. Donovan Wylie is a Magnum photographer.