The Story Behind

The Story Behind...

Originally a space for Bounce! festival artists to tell us 'The Story Behind the Image', this page now emerges as a space for other ADF artists to take us 'behind the image'.

Two images from Gondwanaland Vibrations
by Maurice Orr

This is a body of work, from my Australian 2007 residency at Hill End, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery. “Gondwanaland Vibrations” is the third in the series and all are abstract pieces.

Upon returning from Australia the ambience of the country resonated deeply within my mind. I became aware of a very strange silence, the absence of sounds that I could not explain. It was the pulse, beat, vibration combined with the memory of the intense heat that resonated in my mind, sounds quintessentially Australian that I sought to visualise in my new body of work. 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.

There are a total of 33 - 30” x 40” pieces in this collection.

Cicada #16

Cicada #16

Cicadas are insects similar to crickets and are notorious signers.

The song is a mating call produced by the males only. 

Some large species produce a noise intensity in excess of 120 dB at close range (this is approaching the pain threshold of the human ear). In contrast, some small species have songs so high in pitch that the noise is beyond the range of our hearing.

The organs which produce sound are the tymbals, a pair of ribbed membranes at the base of the abdomen.

Contracting the internal tymbal muscles causes the tymbals to buckle inwards and produces a pulse of sound. It is this pulse that I have tried to visualise in the Cicada paintings.

Didge #10

Didge #10

The didge works are developed from the Aboriginal spiritual music.

The Didgeridoo – a hollowed-out branch of eucalyptus is played by blowing into it with circular breathing. This gives it resonant vibrational sounds which echo those that occur naturally in the “outback” as the Aborigine calls his land.

David Corter, a leading didgeridoo player said of the instrument:

“If the earth itself could speak I reckon it would sound like a didgeridoo.”

Once you’re in the Outback all you have is the heat and dust and everything is extreme. Australia is a land that tests an individual. It is beautiful if you are ready to discover the beauty. 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.


Still from the video Tea To Tango
by Victoria Geelan

vc3 for web

This is a photo still from my first ever professional music video. The song is an original of mine called 'Tea To Tango' and features Rohan The Hat on upright bass and beatboxer Gerard 'Gyro' Donnelly.

Filmed in December 2009, by Northern Irish film-maker Declan Keeney, it takes place in my local and favourite bar/venue, Sandino's, in my adopted hometown of Derry-Londonderry. It was originally intended for inclusion in the Theatre of Witness documentary DVD 'We Carried Your Secrets': an original, multi-media theatre production where I was one of seven performers, each telling our own individual story, in our words, relating to the conflict here in Northern Ireland.

The DVD follows us over a 9-month period, from coming together as strangers to working together onstage, culminating in our 13-date tour across the North. We all came from quite contrasting and, at times, conflicting backgrounds and so the thinking behind filming me onstage singing was to give some additional context to my life beyond the story I told in the production.

Ultimately, however, this footage was cut from the final edit but I was kindly gifted it in the form of this gorgeous video by Declan & co and it continues to impress me just how amazing the whole thing looks and sounds onscreen. Victoria Geelan 28.08.13

You can see the whole video HERE


Everybody's O.k. but ME by Julie McNamara


This image still makes me smile. It was taken in 1993 by Chris Ledger who now holds the reins at Arts Disability Forum here in Belfast. In those days she was an avid photographer and filmmaker. I was on the march with a whole heap of DAN activists (Disabled people's direct action network) we were heading for Derby bus station. The plan was to chain ourselves in front of the buses, take over the entrance of the bus station and present our demand for accessible buses on the public transport routes.

You will notice my chaperone in the picture. That bobby accompanied me along the whole route we took through Derby city centre. Glued to my side for the afternoon, he completely cramped my style. I've got one of those faces. People in uniform like to stop and chat to me. Air ports, road blocks, random stop and searches. I am an excellent subject for inquisitive minds. But the yellow bus behind me was the creme de la creme. I'd just been through agonising depression after a series of shock deaths. But I couldn't help but smile when Chris pointed out the new slogan at the backdrop of my street theatre:  Everybody's OK But Me... Julie McNamara. Vital Xposure. 30.08.13


Little Sonya by Sonya Kelly

Little Sonya, 5 Oct 11I was three in this photo. It was taken by my Uncle Ambrose on the day of my sister's fifth birthday. There was great excitement in the house and my big sister was up the walls over her carefully chosen guest list and multi-coloured sugar concoctions being crafted in the kitchen.

The dress I am wearing came from a cousin's neighbour whose kids had all outgrown it. My mother might have sewed on the collar and bow. She put my hair in rollers that morning and sat me under her giant hairdryer that looked like a spaceship. I was not happy. Twenty minutes is a long time to sit under a hairdryer when you're three. I would have been much happier wandering about the garden pretending to be a radio presenter.

The picture was taken in front of the living room curtains. Those curtains are still hanging in that room. I can remember it clearly. My mother gave me instructions to look at the camera but whatever way I turned my head, it was the wrong direction. I could see the blurry outline of my uncle but I could not see the camera he was holding.

When you are three you don't realize there are such conditions called myopia. I just stared ahead and hoped for the best and I have been doing pretty much the same thing ever since. Sonya Kelly 26.08.13


Spontaneous Dance by Karen Forrester


The self portrait, Spontaneous Dance, was created to mirror the actual happening that I went through when experiencing my initial high. I was diagnosed as having bi-polar disorder shortly after this event.

Aware of what was happening mentally, though at the same time feeling emotionally and consciously alert in more ways than I could now express, I found myself sprung into a long and fluid dance. It felt primal and mentally exhilarating. I didn’t usually dance due to shyness, but this spontaneous dance felt free. I felt free.

To make the photograph I found a deserted beach in Waterford. It was perfectly suited to let go once again. The initial high took place in the family home but the re enactment on a beach seemed fitting to reflect the state of mind I was in and the heightened sense of connectedness with nature and also with myself that was originally felt. K Forrester 26.08.13


Caroline Parker as Sue Graves as Tammy Frascati by Caroline Parker

Graeae Theatre. Signs of a Star Shaped Diva. Caroline Parker.

This picture of me Caroline Parker as Sue Graves as Tammy Frascati embodies both fiction and real life. It shows an important part of Sue Graves' life when she has an epiphany, realising sign song was her life. Similarly, in my life, I had a moment when I realised sign song is important in my life and career.

The picture also reminds me of the process of creating Sue Graves who tells the story of her life in the play. It was created by Jenny Sealey, Nona Shepphard and myself, when we locked ourselves in a room throwing songs, characters, ideas and drink at each other. This was such an important melding of minds (a dream team as we have been called), in planting, growing and evolving the being that is ‘Signs of a Diva’.

This little show has gone on from strength to strength with people demanding more. The world is awaiting domination from the Signing Diva and we intend to tend to the whims of our expecting audiences. Caroline Parker 28.08.13


Use Ctrl +/- keys to zoom page.
Return to home page, from anywhere on the site, by clicking the header image or logo.

Contact Us

Want to ask a question, make a suggestion or a comment?

Send us an email by clicking on this link...

Send us your news and information about events and opportunities for us to distribute to our membership.

Email news, events and opportunities information here...

We are here

Arts & Disability Forum
Ground Floor
Cathedral Quarter Workspaces
109-113 Royal Avenue

Tel within UK:
(028) 9023 9450

Tel from RoI:
(048) 9023 9450

(028) 9024 7770



Tuesday - Friday:
11am – 3pm

The above are our core hours but we are often working away behind the scenes at other times. If the gallery lights are on just ring the bell and we’ll let you in.