Verbal Arts Centre: ‘Aftermath exhibition’ in Derry

Mhairi Sutherland, Verbal Arts Centre community engagement co-ordinator.
Mhairi Sutherland, Verbal Arts Centre community engagement co-ordinator.

In 1969 the largest evacuation of refugees since World War II took place in Ireland as thousands of people fled across the border to escape the unfolding conflict in Northern Ireland. In subsequent years the border counties continued to be heavily impacted; many people were injured or killed in bombings and shootings whilst others were imprisoned or displaced. Following the Good Friday Agreement and the cessation of overt conflict the issue arose of how to address the legacy of conflict.

In the mid 1990s increasing political and economic stability in Ireland created the conditions for a new demographic shift with the arrival of asylum seekers and refugees from all over the world. These people often experienced the same fears and anxieties as their counterparts from the north. They also encountered similar suspicions and prejudices on arrival in their new home.

Aftermath sets out to explore hidden histories, unresolved antagonisms, and personal hopes and dreams. The project brings together people directly affected by trauma to share their experiences through photography, film and music. Filmmaker and Aftermath director Laurence McKeown and commissioned artist Anthony Haughey have worked closely with victims/survivors of the northern conflict, asylum seekers, refugees and people displaced by conflict.

Aftermath presents an extensive series of photographs by Anthony Haughey; a series of filmed interviews by Laurence McKeown; a specially designed sound installation, which engages visitors with the participants’ narratives and a commissioned music score by Elaine Agnew, which includes the voices of participants. The exhibition also includes archival newspaper articles and photographs documenting the growing tensions in Northern Ireland from 1968.

There will be a panel discussion on Thursday evening, August 14, to discuss the themes of the exhibition with panel members Laurence McKeown, former RUC man Roger McCallum, Crows on the Wire Community Engagement Co-Ordinator Mhairi Sutherland and film director Margo Harkin.

The exhibition is free and open to the public 10am-5.30pm from Tuesday to Thursday (August 12-14) and the panel discussion starts at 6.30pm with refreshments.