manipulated black and white photograph of man playing pipes


03.06.22 - 24.06.22

Kensuke Koike

The Naughton Gallery has partnered with Belfast Photo Festival to present Alternative Ulster, a new series of work by renowned Japanese artist Kensuke Koike which draws on photographic archives to present an alternative vision of Northern Ireland’s past.

For the project, Koike worked with the photographic archives of National Museums Northern Ireland (NMNI) and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), sourcing images from thousands contained within each collection. Two of the region’s most historically important archives of photography, these repositories document Northern Ireland and its people over the decades, providing an unparalleled glimpse into our layered and complex past.

Using techniques of cutting, collaging, and layering to rework the original images, Koike’s interventions create surreal interpretations of these historic depictions of Northern Ireland. Reimagining our past through a playfully subversive lens, these images bypass the easy stereotypes that have come to define this place in much of visual culture, breathing new life into the archives and allowing for new visions of Northern Ireland’s past to emerge. 

Images courtesy of National Museums NI and the Deputy Keeper of the Records, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. With special thanks to Stephen Weir at National Museums NI and Joy Carey at PRONI for their assistance with this project.

Alternative Ulster is a Belfast Photo Festival Commission.

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