Events 2009

Exhibitions 2009

Hejira Invitation Card

Hejira Invitation Card

Stephen Gharobaoui and Colin Hamilton:
ADF Gallery
February 13 - March 19, 2009

Stephen and Colin share a keenness for poetry, coffee and cigarettes. They also share the same diagnosis, which is Schizophrenia. Hejira is a mix of their ideas on identity and life in general.

Opening with refreshments and live readings on Thursday the 19th of February from 5pm – 7pm

Hejira is not only the title of a 1976 album by Joni Mitchell, but originates from the Arabic word for Migration, which refers to the flight of Mohammad from Mecca to Medina in 622.

The Installation at the ADF will focus on a personal account of Hejira, mediated through photography, video, audio, text and live readings. The involvement of these mediums for Stephen and Colin developed as an extension to their writing practice. For this exhibition the artists attempt to fuse these elements together and engage the viewer with an insight into their own conception of Hejira and the search for internal and external Sanctuary.

See a review of this exhibition here: REVIEW

The Artists

Stephen Gharobaoui
In 2007 Stephen was a recipient of an Award from the Arts & Disability Awards Ireland bursary scheme for a project based on the twin themes of cross-cultural identity and mental well-being.

The project was realised through spending 4 months researching Moroccan culture, Islam and terrorism. Following this research Stephen travelled around central Morocco for two weeks. The result of this project was a 60-poem collection titled “From South Belfast to Souk el-Arbaa du Rharb” and a collection of 500 photographs.

The aims of the work are to give some insight into cross-cultured identity and the similarities that exist between Ireland and Morocco.

Colin Hamilton
Colin has been writing (mainly poetry) since the late 1970's; and using photography as an artistic medium since the late 1980's.

He has read his work in public and exhibited photographs at many Belfast venues.  His poetry and photography have been published in anthologies and journals, including Face On: Disability Arts in Ireland; The Lonely Poets Guide To Belfast; Ulla's Nib and Ringing The Changes.  He has also self-published two collections of work, The Emperor of SoHo and Sparrow, both funded by an Arts & Disability Award (Ireland) bursary.

He describes his artistic motivation as being the hope of finding transcendence amongst our ordinary details of everyday life.

Gondwanaland Vibrations: Detail

Gondwanaland Vibrations: Detail

Maurice Orr:
Gondwanaland Vibrations
ADF Gallery
April 2 - May 6, 2009

These paintings are my interpretations of the sounds of Australia, the didgeridoo playing in the searing heat of the outback; the cicada beetle ever present in the fabric of outback life.

Pulse, beat and vibration, coupled with the extreme heat of the Australian outback are a reflected subject matter for Maurice.

Cicadas produce sound by contracting the tymbal muscles which buckle inwards and produce a pulse of sound. It is this pulse that I have tried to visualise in the Cicada paintings.

This exhibition features a collection of paintings which echoes the sounds of the didgeridoo and Cicada beetle. Through abstraction, Maurice has developed intense depictions that engage the viewer on a visual level whilst creating a sensory spectre of the Australian soundscape.

David Corter, a leading didgeridoo player said of the instrument “If the earth itself could speak I reckon it would sound like a didgeridoo.”

This is a new body of work, from Orr’s Australian 2007 residency at Hill End, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery. “Gondwanaland Vibrations” is supported by an Award from the Arts & Disability Awards Ireland.

I have tried to capture the colours in the bush, fantastic reds and oranges and browns. Being there was like being part of a huge abstract painting.

The Artist

Maurice had his first exhibition in Belfast when he was only 15 years old. Born in England, he now has a studio in Ballymoney. He studied at Belfast College of Art and Design in the early 70’s, before working as a graphic artist in the Northern Ireland Civil Service. After taking early retirement, having had major surgery, he turned to oil painting as a hobby.

In 2002 he won his first international residency and in 2003, was awarded the prestigious Northern Ireland‘s Arts Council Banff Residency in Alberta, Canada.

In 2006, through the Austral Council, he was awarded the Bathurst Regional Gallery a residency at Hill End. The Historic site was once renowned for the riches of its gold mines.

During his visit to New South Wales in 2007 he also worked with the Barracks Artists in Thirroul, Australia. Like Hill End, Thirroul has a very strong representation of artists staying and working in the area, Brett Whitley and D.H. Lawrence, who wrote Kangaroo in Thirroul, to name but two.

After the Second World War the region around Hill End attracted the attention of some of Australia’s leading artists. The aesthetic possibilities and emotive impact of Hill End where first recognised by Russell Drysdale and Donald Friend in 1947.

Invitation Card

Invitation Card

Andrew Blackwell & Joe Beattie:
Prospect Obtained
ADF Gallery
June 25 - July 25, 2009

A stimulating two person exhibition of paintings, which seeks to illustrate dimensions of the landscape as a procedure to recall and transmit.

This exhibition features work by two artists whose artistic concerns predominately lie in response to their landscape. Nature informs the work and creates a visual transporter for imagination and reflection.

This is the first time these two artists have been brought together and each of them offers us a unique and contrasting insight into their beliefs about nature and its personal force.

From: May Vary Series - Joel Simon

From: May Vary Series - Joel Simon

Joel Simon and Steve Noonan:
ADF Gallery
August 27 - September 25, 2009

This exhibition features new work by two of northern Irelands leading animators. Joel Simon and Steve Noonan have been working professional in the field of animation for many years and have received both national and international acclaim for their work. The exhibition will provide a rare opportunity to view many areas of their work in a range of formats inclusive of installation, sculpture and photography.

The Artists

Joel Simon
Originally from a little village in the French part of Belgium, Joel has always loved drawing and making characters out of any material he could set his hands on.

After spending much of his childhood drawing comic strips vaguely inspired by Tintin and other Belgian super heroes, Joel joined the Royal Academy Of Fine Arts at 18 where he studied sculpture, life drawing, photography and many other useful skills from bearded professors.

A passion for the English culture and exorbitant Belgian university fees led him to pursue his higher education in Bolton, Lancashire.

This is where he discovered the joys of animation after classes, when his video tutor lent him a Super8 camera with single-frame shooting facility. Joel spent much of the summer of ’94 filming a short animation with chunky plasticine models and said camera.

This enlightening experience turned into a fully-fledged animation career as Joel ditched academia the following year, moved to Belfast, and decided to spent his first two years there working on a low-budget animated short film Ciderpunks which won him several awards, after much trial and error, and a year of fundraising.
Subsequently, he established Flickerpix Animation Studios in East Belfast which has produced Buska & Barney for UTV, a film on Malaria for Comic Relief, and has directed animated series such as On The Air with Gerry Anderson and Days Like This for BBC NI as well as short films like Horn OK Please, an Indian – Northern Irish collaboration which has won 15 international awards to date.

Joel still likes to think up new characters and still lives in Belfast.

For this exhibition Joel will present work from a project entitled May Vary which represents a little snapshot of an experience which he had as an amputee. Standing out, as he did on a particular day, by default, as opposed to standing out by design.

This is particularly the case in places of tourism, surrounded by eager sight-seers.


"It was on one occasion, on a busy summer’s day in the quaint seaside village of Dingle that I found myself transformed, by default, into a tourist attraction.

At the time, the experience of becoming a sight for people around me was new, bewildering, and made me think that perhaps I was as worthy as any scenes this picturesque village of Dingle had to offer.

An ambulant monument.

I realised how easy it is to stand out, with one single physical variant from the norm- whatever the norm happens to be.

And the bigger the norm, the more visible this variant becomes.

It seems much effort goes into avoiding standing out from the norm.

The characters in this exhibition are designed to be individuals in their own right. They all have personalities, inhibitions, desires, pets, mortgages.

They share the same universe.

By reducing them all to their simplest shapes and features, I have preserved their personalities and accentuated their fear of standing out. " Joel Simon.


Steve Noonan
Steve is based in Draperstown where he works for Carn Media, a small community-based business enterprise centre. They  provide fully interactive workshops in modelmaking, animation and film making to young people, community groups, schools and colleges.

Steven has worked extensively  in the disability sector delivering such programmes to the National Deaf Children’s Society, ADAPT, Mencap and many more organisations over his 12 years of activities.

Carn Media’s work sessions develop a person's knowledge of multi-media applications and assisting the development of new media techniques for young people of all ages and abilities.

His current work Pat’s world, created with Marty Kelly, was successfully entered in to the Galway Film Fleadh, where it was selected in the final 10 entrants. It achieved great acclaim from both the judges and audience alike. Carn Media are currently in development of another animated project with well-known children’s author Declan Carville.

Steven was also featured in a documentary last year on RTE’s “360” programme, highlighting the ambitions and changes acquired disabilities have made to people's lives. In the documentary , Steven highlighted how his accident, and resulting acquired brain injury, has changed his life – for the better in some respects and led him on to ‘rethinking’ his life and career aspirations.


“In working in the creative sector, as with anyone, it gives me a tremendous sense of achievement, but delivering these workshops to others and seeing the tangible results is even more satisfying overall.” Steve Noonan.


Steven suffered a massive head trauma in a road accident in 1996, and as a result had temporal paralysis on his right side, brain haemorrhage and other injuries. Throughout his road to recovery, he always maintained a bright outlook on life, even when times were tough, and today has managed to change his career options and aspirations in life to date.

He continues to work in the creative and educational sector, facilitating larger arts programmes and producing promotional films, amongst many other new artistic ventures.

All in all, it paints a picture of someone who has come through the trauma of a life-changing episode, and discovered the joy of creativity and exploring what the mind has to offer.

Uninterrupted Sense - Invite

Uninterrupted Sense - Invite

A multi – media exhibition of works by
V.I.P Arts and Morton Arts Group:
Uninterrupted Sense
ADF Gallery
October 29 -  November 27, 2009

The work on show comprises of a range of material processes and themes from large scale wall hangings to ceramics and mosaics. Tomas Finnegan facilitates the VIP Art and the Morton group.  He collaborates with Aisling Reynolds for the Morton work.

Opening with refreshments on Thursday the 29October 2009 5pm-7pm

The Artists

Open Arts
aims to encourage disabled people to participate in the arts as artists, audience and employees, by improving accessibility and creating equal opportunities. Moreover Open arts will promote the disability arts movement by enabling disabled people to create their own arts.

V. I. P. Arts
(for visually impaired people) was the first participatory arts class to be set up by Open Arts and it’s been running for 17 years! The participants have spent time on exploring a variety of media throughout these years, including print making, bronze casting and fabric work.

Inspired by an exhibition of Korean ceramics at the Ormeau Bath’s Gallery the group worked to produce organic pieces of sculpture from clay featuring natural shapes and forms.

The multi-media wall hanging inspired by the Giant’s Ring proved challenging on many levels. The group decided to make it tactile so that it could be appreciated by others with a visual impairment. This was particularly fitting as this year is the bicentenary of Louis Braille.

Morton Arts Group
was originally formed from a group of clients at the Island Resource Centre working with people from the Cedar Foundation. The large wall hanging by this group celebrates these origins.

Stained Paper Windows
The idea for these pieces came from Tomas’s trip to Turin and the new skill was quickly learned by the group. Other pieces were used to make cards and bookmarks but the large pieces were donated to the Crescent Arts Centre.

Views of Belfast
The mosaic depicts three prominent building in Belfast.

Felt Work Flowers
Individuals made flowers of their choice which came together to form a splendid, many-coloured wall hanging.

Christmas Exhibition 2009 - Invite

Christmas Exhibition 2009 - Invite

ADF Christmas Exhibition 2009
William McKnight, Patricia Cleland Clarke
David Hughes, Roisin O’Hagan, Nicola Thornhill
Corina Duyn, Mo McDevitt, Hugh O’ Donnell
Julie McGowan, Kathy O’Leary:
ADF Gallery
December 8 - December 22, 2009

The Christmas group exhibition, which has been selected from open submission, presents a broad range of artistic disciplines.

Ten artists have been chosen from both Northern Ireland and southern Ireland to present their work. The themes reflected in the exhibition range from personal histories to environmental responses and disability issues.

This collection of works brought together for the first time, offers a series of little insights in to each of the exhibitors respective practices.

We will be having a celebratory event on Thursday 17th December 5-7pm, so you are all very much welcome to come down. It will be a chance to exchange a few seasonal greetings with the artists, friends and colleagues. Everyone is welcome so please do bring your friends and relatives.


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