Exhibition of bonfires and bandsmen

Image of an eleventh night bonfire by George Robb

Bands, Beacons and Bystanders is a new exhibition exploring Orange and loyalist culture by east Belfast artist and photographer George Robb.

The collection of images show bonfires, marching bands, Twelfth parades and other aspects of celebration associated with the Loyal Orders.

Embrace Studios artist and photographer George premieres this solo exhibition in the Duncairn Centre for Culture & Arts in north Belfast, with the collection going on display from today (Friday October 6).

Robb’s photographs, which feature Orange bands, images of the 11th night bonfires and 12th of July parades, are interesting for the ways in which they document the celebratory mood of these events rather than probing their military associations or anti-nationalist agenda, as is sometimes to the fore, creating an at times unjustifiedly negative impression of flute band culture.

Joanna Johnston, visual arts development officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “This work stems from Robb’s life experiences of living in in east Belfast since the age of six.

“A large part of his upbringing was associated with going to see ‘the bands’, the Loyal Orange Order demonstrations, 11th night bonfires and the 1st of July Somme Commemoration Parade on the Beersbridge Road.”

Bands, Beacons, and Bystanders is at the Duncairn Centre for Culture & Arts until October 23.

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