Same Difference Exhibition 6th-16th June
An exhibition of photographs exploring similarities and differences by people who share one street in the historic heart of Belfast.
Stephen Wilson has photographed war in Afghanistan and Iraq. In this exhibition, two of Donegall Street’s oldest buildings, both bearing the scars of world war and civil conflict, are the setting for pictures that reflect on them and the communities for whom they are sacred.
Donegall Street has been viewed as a contested space for much of its history but is now a centre of regeneration.
This exhibition marks the centenary of “Madonna of the Lakes,” Sir John Lavery’s gift to St Patrick’s Pre-Cathedral in 1919. Donated to honour the church of his Baptism, the tryptch was part of a sequence of paintings done by him at the suggestion of Lady Lavery, to “join together all the contending elements of (his) native city”. Sir John was scrupulous in painting pairs – Carson and Redmond, Catholic and Anglican Primates, the Grand Master of the Orange Lodge and Joe Devlin MP, Bishop MacRory and Bishop Grierson.
In this exhibition we explore two traditions that to the outsider seem remarkable similar but to each other are fundamentally different. What are these differences? Are they visible to untrained eyes? To reframe and represent the familiar in an unfamiliar setting, this exhibition shows photographs of a Catholic Church building in Protestant Church and vice versa and asks: do we see what is there even when it is somewhere else?
We invest material things with emotion and they become icons. St Patrick’s holds Lavery’s gift in trust for the city of Belfast. We feel that it deserves more than a static memorial: and that its true legacy is to be an inspiration for creativity in the city we share and a homage to the humane role of beauty as Belfast transforms itself.
In images of light and shade in and the words they provoke you are welcome to take part in the conversation about the differences of tradition that make us ourselves and the similarities that we share.