Video: Government Art Collection at Ulster Museum

Watch video from the Ulster Museum, as Head of Art, Kim Mawhinney, introduces works by Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry and others

A fascinating new exhibition uncovering five centuries of artistic creativity is currently running in the Ulster Museum. Revealed: Government Art Collection features more than 160 works from the UK Government Art Collection, usually displayed in official residences and government buildings around the world

Divided into five sections, Revealed presents different aspects of the collection’s role, from the selection and commissioning of works to their use in new or refurbished government buildings, and is broken up into five distinct exhibits.

In a fresh approach to developing exhibition content, the Government Art Collection invited personal choices from politicians and ambassadors, giving an insight into the role played by art in cultural diplomacy. Equally novel is the selection by staff from 10 Downing Street of art they encountered in their daily working lives.

Further selections by artist Cornelia Parker and historian Simon Schama provide unique and intriguing perspectives on the Collection in all its richness and variety. The final selection focuses on the GAC commissioned artworks that include a recent multi-media installation from the artist Mel Brimfield.

Spanning hundreds of years, the fabulous exhibition showcases work by artists as diverse as Walter Sickert, .S Lowry, Andy Warhol, Tracey Emin and Turner Prize winners Martin Creed, Rachel Whiteread, Gillian Wearing and Grayson Perry. Subject matter is equally various, ranging from Byron to the Beatles.

Penny Johnson, Director of the Government Art Collection said: 'This exhibition will offer visitors to Ulster Museum the chance to see the extraordinary breadth of works of art that normally hang in UK Embassies, High Commissions and other official residences and buildings around the world. I’m particularly pleased that we’ve been able to bring all these engaging works, dating from the 16th century to the present day, together under one roof here in Belfast.'

To accompany the exhibition, the Government Art Collection has produced a free gallery guide to illustrate all the works within the exhibition. The guide also features two essays by Cornelia Parker and Simon Schama. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events including special tours, talks and lectures. For further information visit

Revealed: Government Art Collection runs at the Ulster Museum until 9 June 2013. Admission is free.