Members news and events
Pollenators are involved with a diverse range of organisations and projects . Here are some of our other activities
The Presence of Absence
In June 2021 the University of Ulster was unable to safely invite the public to the traditional end of year show and many of the students missed out on the chance to exhibit together. During the summer artist and MFA graduate Charys Wilson arranged for the cohort that started the MFA together in 2019 to get together for a group show in QSS Studios and Gallery in Belfast. Running throughout the month of Nov 2021, this exhibition is the result of two years of working and learning together and celebrates the connection that can be made during college years. As a part time student Zara still has another 2 years to go, but being included in this event shows the bond that the MFA creates over the course of the degree. Also taking part in the exhibition is Susan Hughes, an artist well known to Pollen, exhibiting in the gallery with Tony Hill a couple of years ago. The MFA group worked hard to maintain contact and support each other during most unusual circumstances and Pollen wishes them all the best in the future. Visit the QSS website for more information.
September 2021 We were delighted to hear that Aimee has enrolled on the MA Arts Management course at QUB. Most practical art courses do not provide an insight into the practical world we navigate as artists and most managers and policy makers do not come from the creative background an art degree provides.
Working with administrators with an understanding of art practices makes such a difference when preparing for events.
We hope Aimee enjoys the course and we know she will do well. She has the commitment and drive to succeed.
This means there are now two Pollenators working on Masters' degrees. Zara Lyness is currently half way through a four year part time journey on the Master of Fine Art degree at the Belfast School of Art. Plus Aisling has headed back to university to add another BA to her qualifications with a lot of programming.
You can never have too many strings to your bow!
Bye bye to Lyndsey and Niamh
September 2021 sees big changes. We wave goodbye to Lyndsey, who has moved to Donegal, and Niamh, who has moved to QSS. We wish both of you all the very best in the future and remember, you never really leave Pollen, you will always be part of our extended family.
We already have plans to bring Lyndsey back to curate an exhibition with two colleagues in 2022.
Due to our current circumstances we will not be advertising studio space to replace them, we just do not have the room.
It won't be long until we have our own goodbyes to say to Queen Street as time marches on and the owners of the building are keen to start work on gutting and renovation work in the area. We will not be the only organisation that will be affected by this and we hope that everyone survives as the art scene and premises opportunities change in Belfast city centre.
Keep an eye on social media to see where everyone lands in this location lottery shakedown,
We look forward to sharing our good news and relocation plans very soon.
New Pollenator - Jose Varandas
July 2021 Pollen Studios are delighted that we have managed to make room for a new member of the team. Jose Varandas graduated from the Belfast School of Art with a BA Hons degree in Textile Design and Fashion. Jose is no stranger to Pollen, during his time studying for his degree he was a regular visitor to the gallery for Late Night Art Belfast events and exhibitions. It also turns out that over the course of his studies our own Lyndsey McDougall taught in some of his seminars. His strengths as a designer lie within pattern cutting and fabric manipulation. His design collections focus on exposing elements of the female form highlighting an aspiration that society should not judge individuals on the way they dress, no matter what area of skin is exposed. We should see beauty in a woman’s shape not the clothing or what is revealed. He is inspired by architecture, buildings, and unusual shapes. These shapes are often inspired by windows, and this is reflected in some of his choices of materials. He aims to produce women’s garments that value a women’s body within structure designs.
We welcome Jose to the team and look forward to his contribution to the group dynamics.
MMM#9 Remember- Niamh Clarke and Zara Lyness
Naimh Clarke and Zara Lyness were two of the artists selected for the open call Materials Messages and Meaning #9 exhibition in R-Space Gallery in Lisburn. Exhibiting alongside Rita Duffy, Patrick Colhoun, Susan Hughes and Hannah Shaw Magill, each artist produced work on the selected theme 'Remember'. The exhibition was the first time the gallery has opened the doors to the public in 2021 and the exhibition runs from 29th May - 25th July 2021.
R-Space Gallery at the Linen Rooms, Lisburn is a registered charity and receives funding from ACNI. The MMM#9 exhibition is part of the funded programming.
In this exhibition Naimh shows a series of drawings. Zara shows her Doll's House, with new additions to the treasured collection as well as part of her footsteps series.
R Space’s ambition is to increase access, understanding and enjoyment of contemporary visual arts, crafts, design and other related arts activities. It collaborates with a diverse range of excellent and challenging artists and designers working in different media, providing audiences from a wide range of educational, social and cultural backgrounds with different points of access to the arts.
Peace in Mind - The 100 -Aimee Magee, Jayne Cherry &Zara Lyness
Image credit Beyond Skin
Jayne, Aimee and Zara have submitted artworks for this historical project run by Beyond Skin, Belfast.
The 100 Project Team
Kerry Anderson, Wilhelmina Peace, Charo Lanao, Cony Ortiz, Orla Hasson, Tessa Ann
The 100 is a one-of-a-kind project in Northern Ireland, focused on sharing the stories from 100 women connected to this beautiful land. Beyond Skin says 'Our plan for this project is to create 100 pages, with 100 pieces of art & stories from 100 women. Each page designed by participants will then be bound into a beautiful book, hand crafted with sustainable & ethical materials by the very talented Wilhelmina Peace. This book will travel, and a temporary digital version will be made available online. This book will then be placed in a time capsule to be opened in, you guessed it...100 years!... For us all we would like to think that in 100 years the imbalance issues we face now with gender discrimination, sectarianism, racism, and lack of care of our planet and will no longer exist. The 100 women in the book represent this hope. For the 100 participants, this is a deep journey of self-learning - sense of belonging at this moment in time and self-representation and message to those viewing each of the particpants pages in 100 years after they have have gone. '
Lost to Me - Jayne Cherry
Northlands Creative GMFT FilmFest
Premiering on 4th April 2021, 'Lost to Me' is a collaborative work by Jayne Cherry and Alison Lowry.
This commissioned work will reflect on the numerous State and religious run institutions that operated in Ireland from 18th to the late 20th centuries, incarcerating mothers and their children.
This collaborative site responsive work will be a visceral experience, using a glasswork as the investment object to provide a cognitive dissonance for the viewer.
Alison Lowry is a glass artist living and working from her studio, ‘Schoolhouse Glass’ in Saintfield .Alison exhibits both locally and internationally and her work is held in several public collections; with the National Gallery of Ireland recently accquiring a large pate de verre vessel for the ‘Contemporary Craft Collection’ and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland recently made a forth purchase for their collection.
Jayne and Alison have worked together before and their previous collaborative piece '37 I cant's was purchased by the Arts Council for Northern Ireland.
This latest project was documented by Paul Moore and the premiere can be viewed on the North Lands Creative website.
Line Of Thought-
March 2021 Although the gallery is unable to open to the public due to ongoing restrictions, PS2 continues to run projects and and exhibitions with everything going online.
Line of Thought about drawing shows the work of Niamh and Rachel Macmanus, relating to the accessibility of drawing as a creative practice during the lockdown. Naimh practice focuses on drawing, prose and watercolour which she sometimes combines with video. ' Through my drawing practice and the embodied and labour-intensive process of redrawing, reimagining the image onto the page, the temporal essence of the photograph and in turn the drawing merge. Through the selection and redrawing of these found or personal images, there is an interplay in the looking, the moment recorded and now a moment recalled, the emotion and physical action of drawing. ' Rachel is based in Co. Clare and her practice combines performance art with focus drawing. Her performative practice addresses themes around endurance, repetition and physicality. Recent works apply a methodology of using physical action as a form of relief from anxiety and stress. ‘Each side of my practice informs the other- both are a form of escapism and both can be a superior, to my mind, way to express a point of view”
New Pagans - Lyndsey McDougall
With more creative threads than you could shake a spindle at, we are delighted to share the latest news from Lyndsey and her band New Pagans
Recent winner of the ‘Best Live Act’ at the NI Music Prize
The other wonderful news is that they have just signed to Big Scary Monsters !!!
They are feel really excited about working with everyone at the label. This is the start of something good.
They’ll be releasing the debut LP The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All on the 19th March and you can pre-order it here:
‘The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All’ from Belfast’s own New Pagans.
Their debut album, with influences ranging from PJ Harvey to Sonic Youth, is home to massive riffs and rare dynamics and uses their creative influence to challenge past and present issues surrounding relationships, equality, history, and gender, all wrapped up in their alternative, post-punk, indie rock style.
They have also just released a new single that can be found here
Children of Lir - Aimee Magee
Children of Lir Part 1 & 2
Created and Performed by NoelAndrew Harron, Aimee Magee and Xavier Mcadé Costa.
Meet Fiachra, Conn, Aódhn and Fíonnghula the children of the great sea god Lir. Lir has remarried and their new stepmother isn't too keen in her new husband's brood. With every passing day she grows more and more jealous. Watch the story unfold as the children become prey to their stepmothers envy. With 'Magical Mystery Irishy Sorcery' the children begin a transformative quest and journey among a strange land with even stranger inhabitants.
Out Tiny Typicallu, Fantastical, magical journey interweaves storytelling, puppetry, original song/music and zany charactersto bring young audiences a message of caring for the environment as well as introoducing them to some of the famous myths of Ireland.
This film was produced using recycled and repurposed materials. A safe children's theatre experience in our current climate.
supported by ACNI and Aceagrams for Skewbald Theatre
Arts Fest 2020 - Aimee Magee, Jayne Cherry, Niamh Clarke, Alice Clark & Zara Lyness
We are Grace Fairley of the Take Up Space project at Connswater and Aimee Magee of Pollen Studio Belfast, founders of Arts Fest, a new experimental community arts project based in Belfast.Arts Fest was born from a desire to raise awareness of the extremely talented and under represented artists emerging in Belfast. We aim to create a safe environment for music and arts where is everyone is welcome to encourage solidarity amongst artists and bring our community closer together.Our first show is being hosted by Arts for ALL at Cityside Retail Park on Friday 6th March 6-9pm.We have over 20 artists showcasing work with musical talent and dj performances on the opening night.Come check out our group show of fresh and funky artists bursting on to the scene in Belfast. Expect digital babes, large scale newspaper sculptures, impossible textiles, atmospheric photography and pertuative painting. We will dazzle and delight you, ignite your senses, make you boogie the night away and leave you feeling lovely.Drinks and snacks provided.We will see you for the opening on Friday 6th March 6-9pm, in Arts for ALL at Cityside.Exhibition runs for 2 weeks.Supported by Pollen Studio Belfast, Take Up Space, Arts for ALL and Belfast Visual Arts Forum.
Taking Action 2019
On Wednesday 12 February, representatives from 18 Belfast-based grassroots arts organisations - host to approximately 450 artists - will gather at City Hall to request emergency intervention from Belfast City Council City Growth and Regeneration Committee members in the face of rampant redevelopment that threaten their spaces and livelihoods.
Many of these artist-led organisations save their private landlords thousands of pounds annually in rates, make their own repairs to buildings often in substandard conditions of inhabitability, and occupying spaces and buildings that could not easily be rented to other organisations without significant financial input from the landlords. Whilst many organisations do have good relationships with their landlords, there is no incentive for them to invest in the infrastructure where the studios are only given short term leases and are occupying buildings on a temporary basis. The only way to ensure a vibrant arts sector going forward is to give studios and grassroots organisations security and stability by offering them support to buy their own buildings or long leases in publicly owned buildings.
Most of these artists do their work in their spare time and manage their buildings and output voluntarily on top of job, family and education commitments. Many artists work in low-paid arts and voluntary sector jobs, also in the city and so contribute to the ecology of the arts in the city in multiple ways, that would be impossible to replace easily or quickly, or without a great loss to the cultural caché of Belfast.
Belfast has produced outstanding visual arts and has grown a healthy, self-sustaining community for decades, but at this point we are beyond being able to ‘make-do and mend’, we need real and meaningful support from all quarters, so many of us will need to seek arts communities elsewhere
On the Way - Zara Lyness
Bbeyond performance art organisation supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Presents: ON THE WAY … step by step
Bbeyond proposes the theme and concept of Freedom and Identity, with the potential sense of Freedom from Identity, to help expand our thinking on Identity. On the Way … Step by Step uses Freedom and Identity as themes to develop a deep ecology where the role of artists is in promoting creativity as outlets of contemporary thinking moving the agenda from ego to eco and beyond echoing contemporary issues. Bbeyond endeavours to engage with these issues through promoting solo and groups performance art works.
The NI border represents division and with its centenary looming and Brexit taking place, Bbeyond wishes to highlight this very important and sensitive aspect of Freedom and Identity proposing performative ways to overcome divisions, even if its only a momentary overcoming or eclipsing chronological time.
This is arts essential essence and potential, ‘art as unity’ as Iris Murdock encapsulates it.
Performances by: Boris Nieslony, Karin Meiner, Nieves Correa, Anette Friedrich Johannessen, Mari Norddahl, Bernadette Hopkins, Elaine McGinn, Eleni Kolliopoulou, Sandra Corrigan Breathnach, Zara Lyness
The Visualisation of Pain - Jayne Cherry
The Visualisation of Pain
University of Atypical, 21st -29th November
Jayne Cherry exhibited and was involved in workshops for this event.
This exhibition is a part of a wider research study led by Ulster University, PhD Researcher Niamh McConaghy. Participants are from both the University of Atypical and the charity Versus Arthritis, and all experience chronic pain in one form or another. The artwork shown in this exhibition is created in response to both the experienced psychosocial pain experience and visually documented pain experience over a two week period. This work investigates if a combination of language (through poetry) and visual art can articulate a more comprehensive way to communicate chronic pain, that is reflective of the total pain experience.
Northern Ireland Versus Arthritis ArthritisCare Arthritis Action Rheumatoid Arthritis Group Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Group
#artsNI Belfast Visual Arts Forum Community Fine Art Belfast Belfast Art Galleries Ulster University
Botanic Gardens - Zara Lyness
Funded by the ACNI SIAP General Art Awards, 2018, Zara Lyness has installed 6 Parian porcelain Cryptolaemus bugs that will support education visits and talks by Botanic Gardens staff. The Australian Ladybird larvea are used as part of the ecological pest control methods in the Ravine House and Botanic Gardens greenhouses.
Pollen member had spent time doing research in the Belfast City Council greenhouses situated behind the Palm House in Botanic Gardens, Belfast.
We were also granted a sneak preview of the Ravine House before it opened to the public and by the time the art work was installed there had been significant growth in the plant life cared for on the ground floor.
Members of the public can walk around the gantry level when the building is open but groups need to book to access the premises on the ground floor, to get close and personal with the wide variety of plants on display. The staff also care for some very rare species in the greenhouse area and are important conservator and caretakers of native and national endangered ferns.
Somatic Distortion - Jayne Cherry
4th & 5th October
The Glens Centre Theatre Space
Jayne Cherry is making live performance work on Friday 4th October as part of the Somatic Distortion event that includes performance from an international gathering or artists including Alastair MacLennan, Fergus Byrne, Analía Beltrán í Janés, Fausto Grossi, Elvira Santamaría Torres, Rainer Pagel, Keike Twisselmann. Please see the link for schedule of performances and talks.
RDS AWARDS - Naimh Clarke
Congratulations to Naimh Clarke for selection into the 2019 RDS Art Awards Exhibition. The exhibition will be held in the RDS Concert Hall and will run from 18th - 24th October 2019.
Niamh is the newest member of Pollen, joining us mid summer 2019, after graduation from the Ulster University Fine Art BA degree course, specialising in drawing. Her degree show work included drawing and video and we can't wait to see what she will do next.
Paper Gothic - Jayne Cherry & Zara Lyness
Paper Gothic, the Halloween BAPS (Belfast Artists paper Society) Exhibition was held in Framewerk Gallery, Belfast. Visited by the Late Night Art bus, the gallery was packed and every had a fabulous time.
Expanded Studio Project Sineéad Breathnach Cashell and Zara Lyness
The Expanded Studio Project is a 6 month collaborative initiative between artists based in Belfast and resident artists at Primary. The aim of the project is to develop external relationships, exchange ideas and explore different modes of collaboration.
The Expanded Studio Project was initiated by Jane Morrow (PS² Curator in Residence) and by resident artists at Primary. It is jointly co-ordinated by Deirdre Morrissey (Belfast) and Nastassja Simensky (Nottingham). It is supported by Arts Council England and Belfast City Council.
Participating artists based in Belfast:
Alex Brunt; Barry Mulholland; Hannah McBride; Declan Proctor; Esther O’Kelly; Zara Lyness; Gerard Carson; Sinéad Bhreathnach-Cashell; Robin Price; Jackie Wylie; Thomas Wells; Heather Dornan Wilson; Sinead McKeever; Grace McMurray
Participating artists based in Nottingham:
Chris Lewis-Jones; Roger Suckling; Rebecca Gamble; Bruce Asbestos; Christine Stevens; Georgina Barney; Ines Garcia, Louisa Chambers; Marek Tobolewski; Mik Godley; Pete Ellis; Rhiannon Jones; Nadim Chaudry; Sarah Tut; Paul Webber
The Multi Culti Collective is a group of recent graduates of Fine Art from Ulster University who are showing a body of work as diverse as their ethnic backgrounds. The artists – Ausrine Suratkeviciute, Niamh Clarke, Amy Devlin, Marta Dyczkowska, Jessica Gunn, Maria Horvathova, Anna Horvathova, Bernie Mc Adam, Megan Mclaughlin, Sarah-Jane Mclaughlin and Anka Sikora hail from Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania and Northern Ireland.
Practiced Hands - Jayne Cherry, Alice Clark & Sinéad Breathnach Cashell
Over forty years since production ended in Conway Mill, the Drying Room will be animated with automatic drawing machines, live performers and archive film. Artists Alice Clark and Jayne Cherry invite you to their mesmerising performance in harmony with scenes of the linen industry from the Digital Film Archive. The past and present will overlap as the gestures of current linen workers echo those from decades before. Join us on either night to discover what will emerge from this alchemy of raw materials and raw footage. Expect home grown flax, industrial waste and more.
Jayne Cherry is an artist living and working in the countryside of Co.Down. She makes art to try to comprehend her personal experiences and emotional wanderings. Using intricate investigations with drawing, painting, needlework, sound, installation and live art performances she attempts to decipher any covert signs and leave clues that may be helpful to those who come behind her.
Alice Clark’s background is in weaving but after graduating from Ulster University with an MA in Fine Art in 2011 she has worked in a variety of media including drawing, making, installation, and performance. All relate in a broad sense to landscape and the environment. Her practice explores ways of relating to and interacting with natural and often live objects such as trees, plants and seeds.
This live cinema event is a partnership project by Northern Ireland Screen, Film Hub NI and Pollen Studio. It is curated by Sinéad Bhreathnach Cashell and funded by BFI Film Audience Network supported by the National Lottery. It is possible thanks to additional support from Belfast Film Festival, Thomas Ferguson Irish Linen, the GT Gallery and the Flax Visitor Centre.
Conway Mill, Drying Room, 5-7 Conway Street, Belfast, BT13 2DE
Thursday 4th October 6:30-8:30pm and Friday 5th October 6:30-8:30pm.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
This event is part of the Linen Biennale. Northern Ireland’s Linen Biennale celebrates the past, present and future landscape of linen through an extended arts festival, presented and hosted by multiple venues across the region. www.linenbiennalenorthernireland.com