Punk artwork for new Belfast exhibition space
Some of the most famous images from the punk era have been exhibited in Belfast’s brand new art gallery.
Ulster Presents is a purpose built exhibition space and part of the new University of Ulster City Center Campus.
His first exhibition – Taking liberties! – features the work of famed punk provocateur Jamie Reid.
Reid is synonymous with the Sex Pistols after creating their iconic God Save the Queen logo in the 1970s.
The exhibition brings together Reid’s most iconoclastic protest work from this time.
Take liberties! is part of the Belfast International Arts Festival and features works designed to capture the attention of the public.
Run by Cian Smyth, Ulster Presents is another addition to the city’s Cathedral Quarter.
Mr Smyth says the gallery plans to present six exhibitions a year of a mix of international and local artists, many of whom will be Ulster School of Art graduates.
“We just wanted to build an audience for the visual arts, alongside the other galleries in town of course. We always like to bring in someone who could attract an audience that maybe wasn’t there before,” said- he declared.
He said he had been trying to bring Reid’s work to the city for five years: “I obviously knew his work from when I was young, I knew it really had to be in Belfast.
“In his work, you can see over five, six decades how the visual aesthetic is kind of developed, and you actually see where a lot of the protest language comes from. The people in the protest marches, a lot of their visual language is partly influenced by Jamie I think.”
Reid’s work is famous for its ransom style and political activism.
He highlighted campaigns such as the anti-Poll Tax protests, Russian Pussy Riot activists, the Criminal Justice Bill and Term 28.
He perhaps most famously caused controversy when designing the artwork for the Sex Pistols’ album God Save The Queen by taking a Cecil Beaton photograph of Queen Elizabeth II and adding safety pins and crosses. gambits in his eyes.
Originally published during the 1977 Silver Jubilee, the artwork and song were later banned by the BBC. It officially reached number two on the UK charts, despite this, and some believe it was the “true” number one, allegedly outscoring its nearest rival by two to one.
Attitudes towards anti-monarchy work have since changed with The Observer newspaper in 2007 calling it “the most iconic image of the punk era”.
Regarding the future of the gallery and the Belfast art scene as a whole, Mr Smyth said: “At the moment I am doing things next year around art and activism. It’s such a small community, around this particular area, that it’s hard not to be a part of it.
“There’s like a whole new demographic, a younger demographic. At the time a lot of them would have left, they certainly wouldn’t have existed in central Belfast, it’s nice to be part of what it becomes,” he added.
Take liberties! exhibition is in the University of Ulster’s new building, Belfast Campus, until 26 November.