Seeds' produced this new body of work in response to the breakdown of the Northern Irish Assembly and the potential repercussions of BREXIT upon the already unstable Northern Irish landscape.
The exhibition includes Disagreements, a site-specific installation in the yard and outside area surrounding the project space. Disagreements comprises several large prints mounted on handmade billboard-like wooden structures. (Seeds made the prints using digitally manipulated photographs taken in the grounds of the Stormont Estate, home the non-functioning Northern Ireland Assembly. These works are an extension of Seeds’ use of images of flora as allegory for the ongoing fragility and uncertainty of the political situation. The breakdown of the Assembly has destabilised the province and raised doubts about the Good Friday Agreements’ viability as a framework for governance. This is turn has led to concerns within local communities that a political solution is not plausible in Northern Ireland, and a fear that the violence of the past could imminently return.
The destabilisation of the province is further exasperated by the threat posed by BREXIT to the open border between the North and South of Ireland. The 1998 Good Friday Agreement in effect dissolved the border allowing the free flow of goods and people. The lack of a visible border softened and continues to defuse tensions between the North and South – an crucial factor in a peace agreement being achieved.
It is within the space of these doubts and uncertainties that dissident terrorist groups find a voice and gain influence. Masks is an ongoing series of unique silver gelatine prints the artist made by placing an iPad directly onto light-sensitive paper. The resulting soft, yet haunting images allude to the escalating threat of terrorist activity in the province. Between 2014 - 2018 there has been a 60% surge in paramilitary style ‘punishment’ shootings and beatings by republicans and loyalists.
The current threat level for Northern Ireland-related terrorism in Northern Ireland is SEVERE
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Martin Seeds’ practice is shaped by his relationship with his Northern Irish homeland which he left in 1986. Through his practice, he engages with the conflicting experiences of Northern Irish identity, politics, and culture. He is a lecturer in Photography at The University of Brighton and a trustee of Brighton Photo Fringe. In 2017 he was awarded a Magnum Graduate award for his body of work titled Assembly. In November 2017 Assembly was exhibited in at the Irish Cultural Centre in Paris during Paris Photo.