Roadside billboards to become public art venues via the Void Gallery

The Void Gallery in Derry has announced an ambitious new public art programme as it aims to bring art to the people of Derry and Strabane in 2021.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 9:19 am
One of the billboard works.
One of the billboard works.

With COVID-19 restrictions hampering the ability to showcase artwork indoors, the gallery has taken action, to bring art to the public’s attention. One such programme is the Void’s Billboard Project, which will see a selection of invited artists’ work displayed on public advertising billboards throughout city.

In partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council, the first Billboard Project will be by artist Locky Morris this week. The launch of Locky Morris’ billboard installations across the city, will feature images of the artist’s observations of the incidental, the mundane or the seemingly banal in our surroundings.

According to the Void gallery the intention of the Billboard Project is to take over roadside billboards to turn them into free public art venues and to ‘disrupt the daily flow of advertising, replacing it with works from both national and international artists.’ The Billboard Project will run throughout 2021, beginning today, April 7 with the works by Morris.

His work to be displayed on the billboard at the crossroads of Abercorn Road and Bishop’s Street is titled No.8, and was taken at the point between the urban and the rural on Letterkenny Road.

The Strand Road piece titled Outside Job is an image observed, a fragment of nearby hoarding. The works will be in situ until April 23.

Artist Locky Morris said: “I’ve been producing images and short videos every day from the immediate landscape for a long time now. I don’t set out with a plan and it’s done mostly through walking, wandering and partly governed by chance.

“The things that catch my eye or surprise me I guess might not be normally considered worthy of attention.”

Upcoming artists to be featured as part of the Billboard Project 2021 are: Anne Tallentire (14/6/21 - 27/6/21); Derry artist Willie Doherty (26/7/21 - 8/8/21) and Helen Cammock (20/9/21 - 3/10/21).

The Billboard project is just one outdoor public programme announced by the Void gallery recently.

Other outdoor ‘Void offsites,’ as they will be known will include two public sculpture projects funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with Irish artists Alan Phelan and David Beattie.

Derry City and Strabane District Council is working with a range of local artists and galleries to bring the projects to life.

Slowtime by Beattie invites the local community to consider the ebb and flow of the river, encouraging participants to rethink their relationship with the river and their natural environment.

The project began in March with the first in a series of online workshops, where the artist introduced the project and invited participants to begin the process using their personal smartphones or recording devices.

A dedicated equipment lending library will be available from the gallery as the project develops through April and May - in line with public health advice.

The RGB Hyacinth by Phelan meanwhile is a crowd-sourced sculpture made by individual participants in isolation, then assembled together to create the final artwork.

The sculpture will be of a hyacinth flower; using the red, green and blue colours with petals made in papier-mâché, based around a small similar work due to be exhibited at Void Gallery as part of Phelan’s exhibition ‘echoes are always more muted’ which launches at the same time.

Earlier this year, Void announced that it will be moving from Patrick Street to Waterloo Place this month.

As part of the move, Void has commissioned the artist collective known as Forerunner to design the new gallery’s reception and office spaces, as part of a project titled Office of the Rest.

For more information on the projects, visit the website at: