Belfast has an impressive array of gallery space, displaying everything from the most contemporary visual art to traditional printmaking techniques. Unfortunately, so many of us don’t make the time to discover and visit exhibitions and artistic events that are showcased around the city.
So, to help you out, we’ve put together a list of some of Belfast’s best art exhibitions for you to enjoy. From famous dinosaurs to state-of-the-art interactive exhibitions, tributes to world wars and political films, check out some of the best exhibitions Belfast has to offer.
Shrouds of the Somme Exhibition – Rob Heard
Where: Belfast City Hall
Marking an important moment in Britain’s military history, Rob Heard handmade and stitched thousands of shrouded figures, each representing a life lost during the Battle of the Somme.
Previous displays of his work have moved people to tears as they walk through a trench of stacked figurines or gaze down at a lawn filled with shrouded forms. The art installation brings to light the sheer volume of soldiers who fought and died in such a short period of time.
The Battle of Somme is one of the bloodiest military missions from our past, claiming 72,396 lives, nearly 20,000 in day one alone. The death toll on both sides rose to nearly one million and Rob Heard has perfectly conveyed this through Shrouds of the Somme.
In honour of the Ulster and Irish Regiment servicemen, 3,775 shrouded forms will be laid out on the Garden of Remembrance at Belfast City Hall from August 23rd – September 16th commemorating 100 years since the end of WWI.
Game of Thrones Tapestry
Where: Ulster Museum
Winter is coming and so is the end of the Game of Thrones Tapestry exhibition at the Ulster Museum.
So, if you haven’t already walked along the 77-foot long season one to seven catch-up then you may just have to do it the old-fashioned way and binge watch the box sets.
Get to the Ulster Museum Belfast before Sunday the 26th and you’re in luck.
The Danger Tree – Scarlett Raven
Where: Titanic Belfast
Step into the future of art as Scarlett Raven brings augmented reality to the public in a commemorative exhibition in Belfast marking 100 years since WWI ended.
This mind blowing display of artistic talent combines classic methods with the latest developments in technology. Using the Blippar app simply aim your phone at any of Scarlett’s stunning oil paintings and watch them spring to life as her creative process plays out before your eyes.
Other hidden features leap out from the painting including poetry spoken by well known actors such as Sean Penn, music and various moving animations all telling the story of a different soldier lost in WWI.
Titanic Belfast are the proud hosts of this truly unique example of art exhibition and you to can experience this fully immersive artistic experience up until 31st August.
Phil Collins: This is the Day
Where: The MAC Belfast
A major exhibition that is taking place across all three of the MAC’s galleries, Phil Collins: This is the Day brings together a series of recent project from the recent Turner-prize nominee. The most recent of these works is Ceremony, centred around the life and work of Friedrich Engels, the co-founder of communist theory with friend Karl Marx. The film follows Collins’ search for and retrieval of a decommissioned statue of Engels from a Ukrainian village, its journey across Europe, and arrival in Manchester where it was permanently installed last summer in the city centre.
Visitors will also be able to view the large-scale installation, Delete Beach from 2016, an anime set in the near future. It tells a story of a schoolgirl who joins an anti-capitalist resistance group in a society in which carbon-based energy is outlawed.
Alongside these films will be free fotolab from 2009, a slide projection with 80 images from Collins’ ongoing archive of photographs he collects by putting out a public call for rolls of undeveloped 35mm film. Plus, the meaning of style from 2011, which explores ways in which subcultures circulate between different historical, ethnic, and social contexts.
Linen Futures 2018: Art in the Loft
Where: Portaferry Visitor Information Centre
Curated by Jane McCann and Cecilia Stephens, this exhibition features work by a small group of makers celebrating Northern Ireland’s linen and flax heritage. Created by artists from South Wales and NI, the work focuses on innovative approaches to celebrating NI linen, demonstrating a range of textile skills to embrace print, weave, embroidery and natural dyeing.
One of the most unique exhibitions Belfast has to offer, this show is linked to the “Linen Biennale” and runs until 26th August.
A New Land: Exhibition
Where: ArtisAnn Gallery
A New Land showcases a collection of new works featuring landscapes by a mixture of emerging talents and established artists. Although separated by decades, each artist manages to capture an elusive quality that typifies the Irish landscape, the work should be viewed as a thematic whole.
Amongst the artists features are RUA members Brian Ballard and Carol Graham, alongside two younger visionary artists Keith Ayton and Trina Hobson. This fabulous exhibition is running until the 1st September.
Service and Sacrifice Exhibition
Where: Museum of Orange Heritage
Marking the centenary of Armistice this year, ‘Service and Sacrifice’ chronicles the remarkable personal stories of individuals associated with the Loyal Institutions who enlisted for King and country.
Visitors can view a number of significant items relating to Orangemen, who served with the 36th Ulster Division. Among the exhibits is a replica of a Royal Naval Armoured Car – ‘The Ulster’ – which was deployed on the Western Front in 1915.
It is estimated 200,000 Orangemen and women from across the world served during the First World War, with thousands seeing action at the Somme and other seminal battles. At least five Orangemen were awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry, including Robert Hill Hanna from Kilkeel.
The exhibition charts the course of the war through the eyes and personal stories of over 100 Orangemen and women and is free for all to visit from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10am – 5pm.
Dippy On Tour
Where: Ulster Museum
The Natural History Museum’s iconic Diplodocus dinosaur skeleton is officially coming to Belfast! As past of a road trip across the UK, Dippy is venturing out of London for the first time since 1905. He will visit the Ulster Museum from 28 September 2018 to 6 January 2019 to take part in his mission to inspire five million natural history adventures, encouraging families to explore nature on their doorstep.
Since his unveiling in the Natural History Museum in 1905, Dippy the Diplodocus became a star, and has featured in newspaper cartoons, news reports and even played starring roles in film and television. The full 292-bone skeleton in its displayed pose is an impressive 21.3 metres long, 4.3 metres wide and 4.25 metres high.
The Ulster Museum will have an exciting programme of events for Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure, with something to inspire all visitors to enjoy and engage more with the natural world in Northern Ireland.
Where: Titanic Exhibition Centre
Sea Creatures is a ground-breaking new exhibition that allows visitors to explore the secrets of life beneath the ocean waves, through incredible cross-sections of marine animals. An interactive and immersive exhibition, Sea Creatures allows you to get up-close glimpses into the complex organs and body parts of whales, penguins, great white sharks and many more sea species.
Using a plastination process that keeps the ethically-sourced specimens perfectly preserved, the exhibition reveals not only what lies beneath the waves, but also beneath fur, skin and scales. From pregnant sharks to Leafy Seadragons or from the deep-dwelling Angler Fish to the mighty Minke Whale, the exhibition is packed with 50 full body specimens and 150 body parts and organs.
The exhibition also features unique digital experiences, including an interactive touch table, augmented reality installations, a mini cinema and even a giant ball pit with interactive games that allow children to learn about marine conservation while they play.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to some of the best exhibitions Belfast has to offer. The city is bursting with amazing art and culture, so it’s important to get out and see these amazing exhibitions! The Crum Hotel will soon be opening its doors in the heart of city, preserving some of Belfast’s rich and fascinating history. We can’t wait to start booking you in for luxury stays in the former Crumlin Road Courthouse.