Belfast Exposed

Exhibitions

4th Jun - 29th Jun

Signals

Each year, Belfast Exposed proudly collaborates with Ulster University’s Belfast School of Art Photography Department to pr...

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4th Jun - 27th Jul

Belfast Stitched

Leon Krige is a South African photographer and architect on a mission to capture the intricate urban landscapes of major cosm...

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Community

25th Sep - 7th Oct

Young People Behind the Lens

Over the summer, a group of young people from Start 360 explored the cityscape of Belfast. They found new ways to see the...

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21st May - 22nd May

Showing the faces of dementia with Alzheimer’s NI

Ahead of the Alzheimer’s Society Annual Conference 2019 (ASAC19), Belfast Exposed was commissioned by Alzheimer’s NI to w...

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Degrowth Utopia

Gallery 2

4th Jul 2024 to 3rd Aug 2024

About The Exhibition

Kicking off the Belfast Exposed Emerging Curator Programme, 'Degrowth Utopia' borrows the economic concept of ‘degrowth’ (a project of voluntary societal shrinking of production and consumption aimed at social and ecological sustainability) as a departure point to explore an alternative future where ecological sustainability replaces the system of capitalism.

Many economists believe that the age of capitalism is coming to an end, but what system will replace it? 'Degrowth Utopia' functions as a tool to re-imagine capitalism’s replacement through the medium of photography and facilitates a space in which radical hope can exist.

Mark Fisher argues in his text Capitalist Realism: is there no alternative? (2009) that capitalism is untenable and inconsistent but that our representation of war, poverty, and climate disaster reinforce the belief that it is an inevitable part of the societal process. Utopianism perforates this process to re-imagine an alternative world that centres the natural world, social justice and well-being.

The social significance of Belfast Exposed as a venue for this show cannot be understated. Belfast has been a place in chronic flux, confronting ongoing tensions and mediating complex identities therefore prompting its communities to constantly re-imagine their futures. Belfast’s capacity to rebuild, self-reference and persevere allows it to act as an open space for renewed thinking - what comes after capitalism?

The Artists

Grace O'Boyle (curator) Joshua Jensen Ró Dennis
Artist Biography

Grace O’Boyle is a curator and writer from Donegal currently based in Dublin. Through her socially engaged practice she explores cultural programming as a tool for social justice and a mechanism for increasing community wellbeing, especially within rural contexts. She holds a BA in History of Art and Sociology (Trinity College) and an MA in Curation (University College Dublin).

She was awarded the ESB CSIA Research Fellowship at the National Gallery of Ireland, was a recipient of the Artist in the Bursary scheme, Donegal County Council and Creative Ireland’s project award. Her writing has been featured in artist Sarah Pierce’s collaborative publication ‘Shelter, Bread & Freedom’, The Wayward Eye Temple Bar Gallery & Studios.

More recently, she worked with Fogo Island Arts (Newfoundland, Eastern Canada) on their prestigious artist residency program and devised for Fogo Island Arts Week (a program of special events and exhibitions for community members, local groups and invited guests). She currently holds the role of Collections Officer at the Arts Council of Ireland.

Joshua Jensen’s practice surveys the diverse terrain of the Canadian landscape, with the artist usually inhabiting the environment he photographs for significant durations. His measured engagement with the land situates the natural world at the centre of his and the viewer’s experience, much like the idea of degrowth. Jensen produces an ethereal entity in his photographs that is pervasive, and non-human. It speaks to the supernatural quality of isolated landscapes.

Ró Dennis’s practice is concerned with the Irish landscape juxtaposed against the Americana aesthetic. Her work identifies and expands upon these distinct worlds in pursuit of capturing the intangible lore embedded in old Ireland and the intense romance of the American road trip. Her work highlights the utopian hope that the natural world inherently possesses.