Following the ease of restrictions, Belfast Galleries have reopened their doors to welcome art-loving visitors. Here’s our list of 7 art exhibitions not to be missed in June.

Naughton Gallery

This months theme at Naughton Gallery is exploring Black culture, politics of race, mysticism. The two exhibitions on display are open all through June for visitors to enjoy. 

‘Sorry, Neither’ explores Afrofuturism and Black futurity within contemporary art and pop culture. It presents an intersection between Black culture, technology, liberation, mysticism, and the imagination.

The exhibition portrays what Blackness could be if the weight of racism, oppression, and stereotypes that are ever-present in Western cultures were lifted. 

Sorry, Neither celebrates Black culture – yesterday, today, and tomorrow – whilst also raising urgent questions about systemic racism in contemporary society. The exhibit features a range of visual artists based across the globe.

Accompanying the exhibit is a digital project titled ‘Today Is Yesterday’s Tomorrow’. Presented across the Naughton Gallery’s social media channels, it explores these themes more widely throughout literature, music, film and television.

‘Somnyama Ngonyama’ is Zanele Muholi’s expression of the politics of race, racism and colonialism.

This is the first solo exhibition of the renowned South African photographer on the island of Ireland.

Muholi’s work celebrates the lives of South Africa’s Black lesbian, gay, trans, queer and intersex communities. By staging themself as a variety of identities, archetypes, and personae, Muholi’s work poses critical questions about the politics of representation.

They take an unflinchingly personal approach as a visual activist to confront the politics of race and pigment in this photographic archive.  They explain that “It is a statement of self-presentation through portraiture.”

Belfast Exposed

In Gallery 1 this June, Belfast Exposed presents ‘AEON’ by Marcel Rickli. 

This solo exhibition by Swiss photographer and artist explores radioactive waste repositories and how they will affect humanity for generations to come. Furthermore, he explores how society can create symbols and language that will warn future generations of the dangerous sites for thousands of years to come. 

Showcasing the work of  MFA Photography graduates at Ulster University, ‘A Lightness of Touch’ in Gallery 2 is an exhibition that connects a broad range of thoughts, experiences, and feelings. 

The content is far-reaching and diverse, with works by national and international artists. However, the common thread through this exhibit is not the subject of the artist’s work, but their sensitive and tender approach towards capturing their subjects; a particular lightness of touch.

The MAC

The first exhibition in the UK & Ireland by Canadian-born and New York-based painter Ambera Wellmann is available to view at The MAC. 

In ‘UnTurning’, Wellmann’s paintings negotiate the devastation of the present, one in which the cultural logic of heteronormativity and capitalism are naturalised in the human psyche. 

Traversing distinctions between human and animal and figure and ground, she visualises an illogical state where bodies transmute. 

Wellmann bends the rigidity of art history by plucking from specific paintings across different eras with the recalling of Théodore Géricault works.

‘UnTurning’ is composed of cutouts of multiple paintings that were reassembled within an expansive, horizontal canvas, refusing to rest within a single temporal understanding. Through a compelling exploration of figuration, Wellmann deconstructs the horizontal domain of the bed. In such inherently internal spaces, her amorphous figures resist the binaries of active and passive, male and female. 

The subjects in Wellmann’s paintings navigate the potentiality of their present circumstances and endeavour to generate a domain informed by the ethos of queer futurity.

For the safety of visitors and staff, pre-book your visit on: https://themaclive.com/exhibition/ambera-wellmann 

Golden Thread Gallery

Golden Thread Gallery brings you ‘Across and In-Between’,  a creative collaboration between Suzanne Lacy and Cian Smyth with Helen Sharp and communities in Pettigo, Tullyhommon, Cuilcagh Mountain, Castle Saunderson, Magheraveely and Newtownbutler.

The project amplifies the voices and experiences of border residents during Brexit negotiations through words, imagery, sound and performance, providing them with an opportunity to reclaim the landscape around them.

The exhibition to be shown was initially created in collaboration with artists and communities in Ireland from both sides of the border, almost 100 years since the partition of Ireland.

‘Across and In–Between’ explored the profound impact the border has on the lives of people living there during a time of intense international focus around Brexit. The project created a mass response by over 300 border residents interrogating a line on a landscape with a collective, symbolic act of ‘drawing and erasing.’

Across and In-Between will be shown across the entirety of The Golden Thread Gallery. 

In Gallery One, visitors can explore ‘Border People’s Parliament’, consisting of a series of portraits and a soundscape of the 150 people that participated in the carefully staged event at Stormont in 2018. The exhibit will also include ‘The Yellow Manifesto’ –  A True Account of a Border and its People, which launched on the Today programme, BBC Radio 4, 22nd October 2018. 

Gallery Two will show ‘The Yellow Line’, a 3-screen video project that is a creative act of play giving border people an opportunity to own the frontier, draw it and perhaps erase it. The film feature farmers, horse–owners, scouts, hikers and villagers from communities across Fermanagh, Donegal, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan.

Additional photos will also be displayed alongside a 29’ documentary film, Across and In-Between: Voices from the Border in Ireland, shown in the Project Space.

The exhibition opens on 12th June at Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast. 

Don’t miss out, for more information, visit: https://visualartists.ie/events/across-and-in-between-suzanne-lacy-at-golden-thread-gallery-belfast/

ArtisAnn Gallery

The ArtisAnn gallery in Belfast hosts a new exhibition by the renowned printmaker Margaret Arthur from 2nd June to 26th June

Exhibiting widely in Ireland and the UK, Margaret has held solo a solo exhibition in Washington DC and Europe. Margaret now lives and works in County Down.

Her current exhibition draws inspiration from the ever-changing light and colour of the coastlines and tides of Counties Donegal and Down.

The exhibition is free to attend at the ArtisAnn Gallery, 70 Bloomfield Avenue, Belfast. All the artworks on display are available to purchase. 

For more information about the exhibition and to see the artworks online, go to: https://www.artisann.org/now-on.html