The 18th Century Dutch Masterpiece is on Display at Portview Trade Centre Until August 17
Dutch artist Jan van Huysum’s masterpiece Flowers in a Terracotta Vase (1736–7) will be on display in East Belfast’s Portview Trade Centre, from August 11th to 17th. The painting is on loan from The National Gallery, London, as part of Jan Van Huysum Visits, a touring exhibition. The Belfast display is accompanied by a variety of exciting activities designed and delivered by a group of young people.
The Jan van Huysum Visits touring programme aims to reach a wider audience across the UK and to allow viewers to explore and be inspired by The National Gallery’s collection.
National Gallery Director, Dr Gabriele Finaldi, says, “This astounding, large flower painting has made unexpected appearances in unexpected venues across the country. I hope it will make people think about art and the beauty of nature, encourage their own creativity and inspire them to visit their own local museum or art collection.”
In Northern Ireland, the curation of this exhibition has been entrusted to a group of young programmers from Reimagine, Remake, Replay (RRR) – a project that engages 16–25-year-olds in museums across Northern Ireland, using digital technology and creative media to interpret collections.
The Reimagine, Remake, Replay project is led by a consortium of partners including Nerve Centre, National Museums NI, Northern Ireland Museums Council and Northern Ireland Screen, and is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Kick the Dust programme.
Previously visiting Scotland, the East Midlands, Cornwall, Norfolk and Barnsley, ‘Flowers in a Terracotta Vase’ has now travelled across the Irish sea to the coastal and cultural city of Belfast. Each location hosts the painting in a unique, unexpected non-museum setting, challenging the ways in which art is typically displayed.
In collaboration with Urban Scale Interventions, the RRR group is the first to take over a new community gallery space in Portview Trade Centre, called What’s the Story? The space aims to celebrate stories of East Belfast, both old and new.
Wellbeing is an important element of Jan van Huysum Visits, and each location has attributed one of six ways of well-being as a theme, with Northern Ireland’s theme being ‘Take Notice.’
The RRR group are using their digital and creative skills to encourage the public to slow down, explore, enjoy, and take notice of this amazing artwork.
Reimagine Remake Replay participant, Natalie Cole, says: “As a young person, having the opportunity, as well as being entrusted with the responsibility, to collaborate on such an important project with the National Gallery as part of Reimagine Remake Replay has been fantastic, both in terms of designing the space and planning the events.”
Jan van Huysum Visits promotes ways in which art can support individuals’ wellbeing and mental health, reaching groups impacted and isolated by lockdowns, including young people.
This exhibition includes a range of interactive activities that will enable visitors to fully appreciate and immerse themselves in the gallery – including a custom-made Virtual Reality experience of the artwork, created by artist Estella Tse, a commissioned mural inspired by the piece and created by local artist Wee Nuls, vinyl tote bag making and mindful Slow Art sessions for young people.
Kathryn Thomson, Chief Executive of National Museums NI comments: “We are excited to work in partnership with Portview on this new exhibition and engagement space and are delighted that it has launched with the display of this masterpiece from The National Gallery. At National Museums NI, we endeavour to find educational ways for everyone to engage with heritage. Innovative projects like this help us to reimagine the role that museums play in society and allow us to connect people in Belfast and beyond with our collections in unexpected ways.”
Portview Trade Centre Chairman, Brendan Mackin, adds: “We are pleased to collaborate with The National Gallery, National Museums NI and Remake, Reimagine, Replay, on this new space and its inaugural exhibition. The Portview Trade Centre has a rich history and has always been a centre of innovation, so it is a fitting venue for an exhibition that seeks to explore the new and unexpected ways in which we can all interact with and draw inspiration from Jan van Huysum’s masterpiece.”
‘Flowers in a Terracotta Vase’ can be viewed at the Portview Trade Centre, 310 Newtownards Rd, from 11th – 17th August.
Admission to the exhibition is free and booking is not required, however, capacity is limited. Visitors will be able to participate in free vinyl tote bag making and virtual reality sessions on Saturday August 14th. For more information about the Portview Trade Centre, visit: www.portviewbelfast.org
To find out more about Reimagine, Remake, Replay, visit reimagineremakereplay.org and follow @remagineremakereplay on Instagram & Facebook and @reimagineremake on Twitter.