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Catalyst Arts At 20 – Arts Council NI



Formed in 1993, Catalyst is an annually funded visual arts organisation that provides exhibition space and opportunities for emerging and established local artists to showcase their work

Catalyst  are currently exhibiting at Golden Thread Gallery with ‘Catalyst Arts: Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art X’ curated by Cherie Driver, the tenth instalment of Golden Thread Gallery’s ‘Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art’ series. The project forms a significant archive of Northern Irish Art from 1945 to the present and this instalment celebrates 20 years of innovative Visual Art offerings from Catalyst. It is perhaps fitting that the opening coincides with the opening of the Turner Exhibition in Derry/ Londonderry, given that a number Directors of Catalyst have themselves been Turner nominees.

From its very early beginnings and in each of its incarnations, Catalyst Arts’ dynamic and rich programme of activities has come to incorporate artists and practitioners a number of whom would later come to be associated with the Turner Prize.

Catalyst Arts was established in 1993. Their arts programme is renowned for being cutting edge and experimental throughout its 20 year history, showcasing both NI and national/international artists. Catalyst has fostered two Turner Prize nominated ex-directors (Susan Philipsz, who won the Turner Prize in 2010, and Phil Collins, who was nominated in 2006). Current Turner Prize nominee David Shrigley had his first solo show outside of Scotland at Catalyst in 1996. Shrigley also designed Catalyst’s well known ‘fingerless hand’ logo in 1999 which features in the celebratory exhibition. Luke Fowler (Turner Prize nominee in 2012), Lucy Skaer (Turner Prize nominee in 2009) and Cathy Wilkes (Turner Prize nominee in 2008) have all exhibited in Catalyst. Bill Drummond, who infamously presented Rachel Whiteread (Turner Prize Winner in 1993) with the ‘Worst Artist of Year’ award on the steps of the Tate after receiving her Turner Prize award, has maintained a close relationship with the gallery throughout the years.

Noirin McKinney Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council said

‘Visual Art is a powerful tool that can provoke discussion and thought from those who experience it. Catalyst is one of our leading visual arts organisations who have over the past 20 years been instrumental in the development of our thriving visual arts community. This exhibition and Catalysts long life demonstrates their creativity and the demand for high quality work here. We look forward to seeing what the next 20years will produce’

The exhibition runs at Golden Thread until 3rd December.

Text taken from The Arts Council of Northern Ireland

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