Troubled Images

The Linen Hall Library's Northern Ireland Political Collection celebrates its 40th anniversary with the return of the Troubled Images exhibition

Mike CattoVisual culture expert Mike Catto discusses the rise of issue-based public art in cities such as Prague, Paris and Belfast during the year 1968. Click here to listen.

Ray MullanRay Mullen, director of communications with the Community Relations Council, discusses the design of a cross-community poster aimed at tackling sectarianism during the Troubles.  Click here to listen.

Danny DevennyPoster artist Danny Devenny looks back on the difficulties of producing posters during the Troubles, and how the nationalist community sought to address issues through art. Click here to listen.

Troubled Images is an award-winning exhibition of over 70 posters on conflict and the peace process drawn from the Linen Hall Library's Northern Ireland Political Collection. 

The exhibition, first displayed in 2001 and now again as part of the collection's 40th anniversary, displays some selected highlights of the exhibition and runs until October 28. 

The posters on display illustrate the experience of the Northern Irish people since the beginning of the Troubles, and reflect all sides of the conflicts - the great tragedies of our time featured alongside moments of hope. 

Yvonne Murphy, librarian for the library's political collection, played a central role in the collation of the collection and the consequent exhibition. Quoting the project's gateway statement, Murphy explained:

'One of the great truths of history is that turbulent times inspire art. The art displayed here has been inspired by the traumatic events in Northern Ireland.

'This is art of a particular kind — the images are of a political, though not necessarily party political, nature. They were designed to convey a message, to make the observer think, and often to inspire them to a course of action.

'We have tried to include the most memorable posters in terms of historical significance, visual impact and artistic style, incorporating as wide a range of opinion as possible on the major events, issues and individuals of the past three decades. 

'Inevitably, some of the posters reflect the violence associated with the Troubles. If they are controversial, it is because those years, and the pain associated with them, are still fresh in our memories.'

As part of the celebrations for the collection's 40th anniversary, the library recently held a talk on public art during the Troubles, with guest speakers Mike Cato, Ray Mullen, Danny Devenny and artist Danny Morrison.

Thanks to the Linen Hall Library, CultureNorthernIreland are able to show 25 of the posters that make up the Troubled Images exhibition, many of which are currently on show in the library's exhibition spaces. 

Click to view Troubled Images 1-10, 11-20, 21-25