Northern Ireland news

Belfast peace line exhibits world's border walls amid 'looming' Brexit

Photographer Kai Wiedenhofer at his new exhibition erected along a peace wall in Belfast
Brendan Hughes

A PEACE wall in west Belfast has become the backdrop for a new open-air exhibition showing photos of border walls from across the globe.

Wall on Wall is made up of 36 huge panoramic images of nine border and separation walls from locations including Mexico-USA, Israel-Palestine and North-South Korea.

The exhibition, by German photographer Kai Wiedenhofer, covers more than 1,300 square yards (1,100 square metres) and nearly 400 yards (360m) of the length of the Cupar Way peace wall.

Its launch marks 50 years since the construction of the first peace lines in Belfast and 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Mr Wiedenhofer photographed the fall of the Berlin Wall and travelled to Northern Ireland as a photo journalist in the late 1990s.

The 53-year-old said he hoped the exhibition would help build "community relations" and bring people together across the interface divide.

He said people can "can stroll along here and you can make your own thoughts", but the exhibition could be viewed in the context of a "looming" Brexit.

"I think it's very positive what happened here since the Good Friday Agreement, and I hope this pattern will be continued and will not be destroyed through a hard border between Ireland," he said.

The photographer added: "If the 'backstop' doesn't come in I think there could really be problems on the horizon."

Among the photos of border and separation walls is the 'green line' United Nations buffer zone in Cyprus.

Northern Ireland has dozens of peace walls and many are a legacy of the Troubles, erected at interfaces between mainly unionist and mainly nationalist areas.

Deirdre Robb, chief executive of Belfast Exposed which is supporting the exhibition alongside the Shankill Partnership, welcomed the new exhibition.

"Belfast Exposed's galleries, which focus on both local and internationally renowned artists, is thrilled to be supporting Kai's exhibition Wall on Wall," she said.

"Wall on Wall ties in with the current exhibitions on show in our galleries, which form part of a project that explores the impact of peace walls and peace lines since the first wall was erected in Belfast 50 years ago."

Wall on Wall will be formally launched tomorrow and the open-air photo exhibition runs until November 15. Visit wallonwall.org for more information.

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