Belfast Exposed


3rd Aug - 16th Sep

Belfast Exposed Presents: Portrait of Belfast

BELFAST EXPOSED PRESENTS: PORTRAIT OF BELFASTTo accompany Portrait of Humanity Vol. 5, Belfast Exposed is inviting Northe...

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3rd Aug - 16th Sep

Portrait of Humanity Vol. 5

In partnership with the British Journal of PhotographyBelfast Exposed is delighted to be hosting the British Journal of P...

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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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4th May - 20th May

Coronation Generation 2023

Bringing together young people from across communities for Coronation GenerationIn April 2023, Belfast Exposed worked wit...

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Imperial Courts 1993-2015

Gallery 1

7th Sep 2018 to 20th Oct 2018

About The Exhibition

Belfast Exposed is delighted to present Imperial Courts 1993-2015 by Dana Lixenberg, winner of the 20th Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize (2017). This solo exhibition is the first showing of the award-winning photographer’s work on the island of Ireland.

In 1992, Dana Lixenberg was commissioned to document the areas of Los Angeles affected by the ‘Rodney King riots’, which erupted following the acquittal of four LAPD officers for the use of excessive force in the arrest of Rodney King. This visit inspired Lixenberg to return to LA and start her own project in 1993, which led her to the Imperial Courts housing project located in Watts, Los Angeles.

In contrast to an often one-dimensional, sensationalized journalistic approach, Lixenberg employed a controlled and collaborative photographic approach, using the communal areas of Imperial Courts as her studio. She began to create large-format, black and white portraits of the residents, using natural light. These photographs, taken at a pivotal time in the history of the community, form the basis of her largest body of work to date.

In following years, the photographer stayed in contact with the community, returning in 2008 to revisit the series, capturing individual and collective personal stories. Over the years, lives had been lost, people had disappeared or gone to jail, and children of early photographs had grown up and had families of their own. Lixenberg’s photographs became valued mementos for those she photographed and for the community as a whole. During these visits, she began to make audio recordings of people’s reactions to the images, which can be heard in the gallery alongside the final publication of the photobook entitled Imperial Courts (ROMA Publications, 2015). As a further response, she also created a web documentary, which can be accessed at

Spanning 22 years (1993-2015), Imperial Courts subtly addresses issues of inequality and injustice while avoiding stereotypical representation. Using multiple platforms, from silver gelatin prints, a carefully edited publication, video installation, and an online web documentary, the project serves as an evocative record of the passage of time in an underserved community. The power of Lixenberg’s work can be found in the intimacy, compassion and quiet confidence of her images, and of the individuals we meet through the series.

Limited signed copies of Imperial Courts (2015, ROMA Publications) are available for £60

The Artists

Dana Lixenberg

Artist Biography

Dana Lixenberg (b. 1964) lives and works in Amsterdam and New York. She was the winner of the internationally esteemed Deutsche Börse Foundation Photograph Prize in 2017, and her work has been exhibited extensively across the world. Her work has been published in nine photobooks, and is also held in a number of permanent collections.


Exhibition Preview

Thursday 6 September | 6-9pm | Belfast Exposed

Free Admission
Artist Talk with Dana Lixenberg

Friday 7 September | 6:00pm | Belfast Exposed

Free Admission (Booking Essential – email to secure a place)


Imperial Courts at Belfast Exposed is generously supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council.

Special thanks to The Mondriaan Fund for their support of the project.