Visual arts in East Belfast: An Introduction

An introduction to visual arts in East Belfast

A small number of historically important visual artists have connections with East Belfast.

The Banbridge-born sculptor FE McWilliam was educated at Campbell College. Photographer Robert Welch was Harland & Wolff’s official photographer, and left a groundbreaking and justly famous visual record of East Belfast’s industrial high-water mark. John Campbell, illustrator and theatre designer, was the son of a road contractor from the Castlereagh Road. Like his brother, the poet Joseph Campbell, he was a central figure in the cultural life of early twentieth century Belfast.

Perhaps symbolising a creative tension between industrial and artistic traditions, the Engine Room Gallery on the Newtownards Road occupies part of a striking mill building, known now as the Portview Trade Centre.

A contemporary visual arts gallery promoting a wide range of visual arts through exhibitions of work from national and international artists, the Engine Room has strong links with the Creative Exchange group, an artist led studio group also based in East Belfast.

East Belfast also plays host to a number of commercial galleries.