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These last two images are courtesy of Jordan Hutchings 2014

Bespoke kaleidoscopes, hand painted painted discs and tripod.

These bespoke handmade kaleidoscopes incorporate painted rotate-able discs featuring terms which relate to Loyalist iconography or phraseology. The terms are chosen due to their apparent strangeness in relation to the contemporary, for instance the UVF AMULANCE relates to the 1912 UVF formation of an ambulance corp., The LADY SIGNALLERS is similar, whereas FREEDOM CORNER refers to a place in East Belfast and a suggested ideological position that seems at odds with a fixed defensive mindset. The painted discs are viewed as part of the scope device through which a kaleidoscopic, perhaps psychedelic perspective is rendered.

The tripod mounted devices appear to be a form of apparatus which resonate as strange surveying equipment or the sighting apertures of bizarre weaponry or as a weapon itself.

I’m interested in funking up the fixed and emblematic and as part of this approach I am interested in colliding significant historic periods; the years around WW1, the 1970’s and the contemporary. I do so with a particular concern for the philosophical, political and the visual possibilities of meshing out-of-sync times, places and events. These painted works reflect the self-designed and hand painted nature of murals and signage and they tap into other forms of cultural history of these periods such as popular music and Pop Art.

The work came about through a visit to the Ulster Museum with my children. In the interactive ‘historical toy’ area there are computers with access to the Northern Ireland Digital Film Archive. I was searching images of Sir Edward Carson and I came across a short movie clip where he is inspecting the UVF Ambulance Corp. in 1914. At that moment my son brought over a small period toy kaleidoscope to show me. The idea developed from there.


2014 - LITTLE KINGDOMS - BUDA Catalyst Arts, Belfast.