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Climate change, migration and power of protest among themes of Belfast Photo Festival

Davion Alston's Stepping on The Ant Bed includes images from Black Lives Matter demonstrations

CLIMATE change, migration and the power of protest are among the themes of this year's Belfast Photo Festival which will showcase visual art throughout the city.

Taking place from June 3-30, a programme of exhibitions, talks and tours will be held with large-scale outdoor art works to be showcased in galleries and public spaces.

Alongside its physical exhibitions, the festival will also host online talks and events exploring the role of photography.

With 'Future(s)' as its theme, this year’s festival tackles issues such as climate change, migration, advancement of technology, government surveillance and the power of protest to "explore how the future is shaped by our actions in the present".

Simon Norfolk and Klaus Thymann’s ‘Shroud’ will be exhibited at Belfast’s Riddel’s Warehouse

American artist Davion Alston’s works will be shown at public sites across Belfast, featuring images from the Black Lives Matter demonstrations last summer.

The festival will present the first solo exhibition on the island of Ireland of renowned artist Zanele Muholi.

One of the most acclaimed photographers working today, the outdoor exhibition at Queen's University presents work from Muholi’s ongoing project, Somnyama Ngonyama, translated as 'Hail the Dark Lioness'.

The images explore themes including labour, racism and sexual politics as well as continuing Muholi’s engagement around the rights and representation of the LGBTQ community in South Africa and globally.

Other festival highlights include Mandy Barker’s 'Lunasea' collection, which imagines a parallel planet made from plastic waste.

Swiss artist Marcel Rickli asks how we might warn future generations about sites of toxic nuclear waste

Simon Norfolk and Klaus Thymann's 'Shroud' will be exhibited in Belfast’s Riddel’s Warehouse and presents an impactful document of global warming.

At Belfast Exposed Gallery, Swiss artist Marcel Rickli asks how we might warn future generations about sites of toxic nuclear waste, when the material itself is likely to outlive existing modes of communication, including current forms of language.

Festival director Michael Weir said: "In recent years our festival has focused on bringing visual art to the public, pushing the boundaries of the photographic medium, making it accessible and engaging.

"We’re very pleased to play our part in rejuvenating public spaces and galleries throughout Belfast with our 2021 programme."

Mandy Barker’s impressive LUNASEA, imagines a parallel planet made from plastic waste

Suzanne Lyle from the Arts Council, said the festival "will use a range of public spaces, galleries and online platforms to showcase local artists alongside renowned international photographers".

Belfast lord mayor Frank McCoubrey said: "It’s exciting to see the Belfast Photo Festival combine online activity with some in-person events as restrictions start to ease and we emerge from what has been a very challenging lockdown period for our local arts sector".

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