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Riverdance founder brings Palestinian photos to Belfast for new exhibition

Riverdance creator John McColgan pictured with some of his photography work at Cultúrlann in Belfast.
Paul Ainsworth

STARK photographs showing the lives of Palestinians form a new exhibition in Belfast by one of the founders of stage hit Riverdance.

John McColgan, who along with wife and Riverdance producer Moya Doherty unveiled the Irish dance spectacular to the world as an interlude for the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest before adapting it for a larger stage show, took the images during visits to Gaza and the West Bank.

His new exhibition, titled ‘This is Palestine’, was launched this week at the Cultúrlann on west Belfast’s Falls Road, and runs until May 20.

It portrays Palestinians living under the economic blockade imposed by Israel, and features images of an ex-Israeli soldier and a rabbi who are critical of the regime.

One of the images taken by John McColgan during his visit to Gaza and the West Bank.

Speaking at the launch, John explained how the exhibition aimed to raise awareness of the charity Trócaire.

“What resonated with me were the faces of the people I photographed,” he said.

“The stoicism and dignity of the people as they recounted the abuse and horror they had suffered. It really affected me.”

Éamonn Meehan, executive director of Trócaire, added: “John has recently joined Trócaire as an Ambassador, helping to raise awareness and much needed funds which supports some of the most vulnerable people in the world.”

Left to right: John McColgan, Trócaire Executive Director Éamonn Meehan, and BBC Radio Ulster’s Seamus McKee at the launch of ‘This Is Palestine’

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