Belfast Exposed

Exhibitions

2nd Jun - 16th Jul

Thomas Albdorf at Belfast Exposed

Belfast Exposed is delighted to present a selection of three bodies of work by Vienna-based conceptual artist Thomas Albdorf....

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2nd Jun - 16th Jul

A Trace of Ownership – University of Ulster MFA Photography Showcase

To what extent do we have ownership over the paths we take and the stories we choose to tell?A Trace of Ownership interr...

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Community

24th May - 25th May

Belfast Exposed Photography Academy Showcase 2022

Belfast Exposed is proud to present The Belfast Exposed Photography Academy Showcase 2022, an exhibition featuring work from ...

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14th Oct - 25th Nov

Looking Through Our Eyes

Belfast Exposed present a photographic exhibition exploring the theme of portraits by a group of individuals who have an acqu...

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Seen To Be Heard

Studio Gallery

28th Apr 2022 to 21st May 2022

About The Exhibition

Belfast Exposed presents the exhibition entitled Seen To Be Heard by award-winning photographer Jennifer Willis, featuring 32 portraits of women from Northern Ireland all living with a Secondary Breast Cancer diagnosis.

Photographer Jennifer Willis started this project 6 months ago in her Belfast Studio and brought together 16 women, diagnosed with Secondary Breast Cancer. They have united in their passion to educate people on the need for Secondary cancer care services to be changed. Willis has created raw and captivating portraits of these women who bravely bare their scars and also portray their everyday lives.

This exhibition is also part of the NI Mental Health Arts Festival, running from the 9th - 25th May. The festival aims to create a platform for high-quality artwork that deals compassionately and intelligently with mental health. A series of talks will be delivered focusing on the issues contained within the Seen to Be Heard project.

Through the development of this exhibition, hearts and minds have already been affected in local government. The issues addressed in this way is a creative response to what is considered an inequality to women’s healthcare to Secondary Breast Cancer in Northern Ireland. Brought together, the exhibition reflects the trauma, and courage of those who are living daily with a Secondary Breast Cancer diagnosis. The exhibition wants to shed light on these issues and appeal to politicians and medical people to act and support those with a Secondary Breast Cancer diagnosis.  Currently, in Wales and England, the Government provides treatment, care and check-ups, this isn’t offered here.

The artist's approach within this exhibition and the use of colour, content and composition, give a sympathetic platform to these women’s voices.

This has been a very special project to work on and one of the most important exhibitions Belfast Exposed has done.  Jennifer’s talent is evident through the raw and evocative portraits of the women. Through these works and the manifesto, Seen To Be Heard exemplifies how art can be used to educate and becomes a bridge to deal with difficult topics.” ~ Deirdre Robb, Chief Executive

 

Professor Mark Lawler, who is pivotal in supporting the All-Island Cancer Research Institute says:

"This beautiful but thought-provoking and challenging exhibition captures the reality of living with cancer and we need to make sure that their message resonates so that there are clear actions on addressing the challenges of secondary breast cancer. I sincerely hope that this will be reflected in the new Northern Ireland Cancer Strategy and its implementation, so that we deliver the optimum standard of care for all women with secondary breast cancer in Northern Ireland"

 

For more information please visit: www.seentobeheard.com

The Artists

Jennifer Willis

Artist Biography

Jennifer Willis, Belfast born, and educated at Methodist College Belfast, excelled in music and sport. With an evolving curiosity and interest in human rights she graduated with a BSSC Hons. in Politics & Sociology from Queen's University Belfast.

Her interest in photography began about 17 years ago during a prolonged period of illness when it became a way for Jennifer to continue to be involved in sport with her family. However, since joining Catchlight Camera Club in Belfast just over 3 years ago her development as a photographer has excelled. She is already a multi-award winning photographer across several genres in both National and International photographic exhibitions favouring sport (particularly rugby) and portraiture.

In 2021 she produced a panel of photographs telling the story of a small dog shelter in the south of Spain. It successfully gained her an Associateship in both the Royal Photographic Society (ARPS) and the Irish Photographic Federation (AIPF). She has also gained Distinction in the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (DPAGB).

As an artist, it is the narrative of her subjects and a desire to capture something of the story hidden within that has most inspired her photography. Her recent body of work has taken this to a new level with this remarkable exhibition of portraits of women living with Secondary Breast Cancer.

Jennifer describes these portraits as raw, powerful, yet sensitive and revealing. Getting to know the women before even lifting the camera was key to ensuring authenticity. In this time critical project, commencing Nov 2021 she created a reassuring sanctuary in the studio, building trust, enabling the women to be themselves whilst drawing out the inner truth in front of the camera.

It was emotionally challenging, requiring empathy, patience and a great deal of sensitivity. As an artist, Jennifer aimed to show the physical and emotional costs of the treatment and surgeries that these women endure and quite simply, cannot live without.

The effect on the artist herself bearing witness to these harsh realities amidst their desire to live every moment to the full, has been profound.

Events

Exhibition Opening

Thursday 28th April | 6:00pm - 9:00pm | Belfast Exposed

Free
Jennifer Willis in conversation with Noelle McAlinden

5th May 2022 | 6pm | Belfast Exposed

Free
The Power of Arts, Advocacy & Activism on our Mental Health and Well-being. A panel discussion hosted by Noelle McAlinden, Jennifer Willis & invited guests from Health, Arts & Community Sectors.

12th May 2022 | 6pm | Belfast Exposed

Free

Acknowledgements

Seen To Be Heard has been supported by Cancer Trials Ireland, All Island Cancer Research Institute, Wex, Montgomery Refrigeration, Northside, Dublin Learning City, Cork Learning City, Belfast Learning City, Derry and Strabane learning City, Limerick Learning City, Northern Ireland Mental Health Association, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and funded by Belfast City Council.