Northern Ireland news

National Museums NI acquires Turner Prize winner for Ulster Museum display

The Druithaib's Ball - the 2021 Turner Prize winning installation. Picture by Garry Jones

A TURNER Prize winning installation is to go on display at the Ulster Museum in Belfast where the work "will be preserved for years to come and enjoyed by local audiences".

National Museums NI announced the successful acquisition of The Druithaib's Ball - the 2021 Turner Prize winning installation by Belfast based artists, Array Collective.

The artwork will be on display at the museum from January 2023.

Array Collective is a group of 11 artists who all live and work in Belfast creating collaborative actions in response to socio-political issues affecting them and their communities.

They were the first from Northern Ireland to win the prestigious Turner Prize.

"We are thrilled the installation will have a permanent home in the north of Ireland," they said.

"The acquisition for the Ulster Museum collection means that the work will be preserved for years to come and will be enjoyed by local audiences.

"The Druthaib’s Ball responds to the anniversary of the partition of Ireland, grappling with cultural identities through characters, music, poetry, storytelling and myth-making, with the backdrop of a wake.

"This important contemporary work will now be in the hands of the public, with the Ulster Museum serving as a significant home for the artwork, enabling its long-term preservation for public benefit.

"We would not be in this position without the help and participation of many grassroots organisations, artists and human rights advocates in Belfast.

"We wish to acknowledge the individuals, who without their continued support and talent, we would not have been given the opportunity."

The acquisition came following months of planning and discussion, along with support from the Art Fund and the Department for Communities.

Kathryn Thomson from National Museums NI said: "Having a Turner Prize winning piece of art in the collection is a significant milestone for National Museums NI and we look forward to welcoming visitors to come and see it when it’s on display at Ulster Museum in January next year.

"Array Collective is a testament to the skills and creativity we have here in Northern Ireland. I am committed to making inspiring collections, such as this, available to our audiences in order to nurture and preserve this talent."

Jenny Waldman from Art Fund said: "The announcement of Array Collective as the winners of last year’s Turner Prize was a thrilling moment for the arts in Northern Ireland, and Art Fund is delighted that the winning work will now join National Museums NI’s collection, allowing its long-term preservation for the enjoyment of everyone".

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