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06th Sep 2021

A 25-metre street art installation has just been unveiled in Belfast!

Fiona Frawley

The impressive piece is the handy work of artist and activist Joe Caslin, and it certainly makes an impact.

The installation, entitled “Counterpart” was unveiled earlier today on the exterior of one of Belfast’s most iconic buildings – Ulster Museum. The work depicts various viewpoints of life in Northern Ireland and entices the viewer to reflect on Northern Ireland’s shared future.

The installation is part of the Making the Future programme, which is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and delivered by project partners National Museums NI and the Nerve Centre.

Over the summer, members of the public had the opportunity to work alongside Caslin, exploring the world of street art and examining how political division is represented in pieces like this. Counterpart represents the culmination of these discussions and depicts some of the perspectives shared by participants around their heritage, culture and identity in Northern Ireland.

Speaking about the final piece, Caslin said:

Working with Nerve Centre, Ulster Museum and Counterpart participants was a truly worthwhile and eye-opening experience. All of my work begins with research so having the opportunity to share my world and understanding of art with others, who in turn shared their experiences with me, was particularly meaningful. The values of the project appeal to my values as the goal here is to create debate and conversation.

It is important that social issues are not pushed to the periphery, but as my works are biodegradable, they are only accessible for a limited time, so having the support of recognised landmarks to amplify them is really important. Ulster Museum is a particularly fitting location to this project – not only is it a treasure house to stories of the past and the present, but as a building it blends traditional and contemporary design elements too, all appealing to the theme of the piece as we question what life in Northern Ireland might be in the future.

Like all of Caslin’s pieces, the materials used to create the Counterpart mural are biodegradable and will wash away with rainfall, so viewing early is recommended. Access to Ulster Museum’s grounds to visit is free.

Header image via National Museums NI

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