An 18th century masterpiece by an internationally renowned Dutch artist will be displayed at a community space in east Belfast.
Jan van Huysum’s Flowers In A Terracotta Vase will be shown at the Portview Trade Centre for almost a week on loan from the National Gallery in London as part of a touring exhibition.
The Jan van Huysum Visits touring programme is designed to reach a wider audience beyond the gallery’s wall across the UK.
It was shown in “unexpected” settings in Scotland, the East Midlands, Cornwall, Norfolk and Barnsley before crossing the Irish Sea.
National Gallery director, Dr Gabriele Finaldi, said he hopes the painting will inspire people.
“This astounding, large flower painting has made unexpected appearances in unexpected venues across the country,” he said.
“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 to 25-year-olds in museums across Northern Ireland, using digital technology and creative media to interpret collections.
RRR 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.
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? which aims to celebrate stories of East Belfast, both old and new.
RRR used its digital and creative skills to encourage the public to slow down, explore, enjoy, and take notice of this amazing artwork.
Participant Natalie Cole said: “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.”
This exhibition included a range of interactive activities aimed at enabling 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, as well as vinyl tote bag making and mindful Slow Art sessions for young people.
Kathryn Thomson, chief executive of National Museums NI, said she was delighted the new exhibition space opened with the display of a 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,” she said.
Flowers In A Terracotta Vase can be viewed at the Portview Trade Centre, 310 Newtownards Road, from Wednesday August 11 – Tuesday August 17.
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 14.