A group exhibition that looks anew at the Civil Rights movement in Northern Ireland fifty years on from the marches and peaceful protests that immediately preceded the Troubles. Curated by Sean O’Hagan, who writes on photography, art and culture for The Guardian and The Observer, the show places the Northern Irish civil rights struggle in the context of the many international street protests that made 1968 such a tumultuous year.
From Paris to Prague, Chicago to London, mass protests reverberated across the world via the TV news.
The year of discontent began in Northern Ireland when activists organised civil rights marches against discrimination in housing and jobs. Using the tactics of non-violent civil disobedience employed by Martin Luther King Jr. in the American south, the marches unleashed a wave of Unionist counter-demonstrations. The often brutal police tactics used against the marchers were caught on camera and broadcast around the world, igniting global media interest in the Northern Irish civil rights movement. Though its legacy remains contested to this day, the exhibition argues that this was the lost moment when the Troubles might have been averted.
The exhibition features dramatic images by Steve Schapiro of the famous Selma to Montgomery civil rights march in 1965, alongside work from three renowned Magnum photographers: David Hurn, Josef Koudelka and Ian Berry. The Northern Irish civil rights struggle, from the first march in August 1968 to the Battle of the Bogside in 1969, is captured though the work of Gilles Caron, Clive Limpkin, David Newell Smith, Buzz Logan, Barney McMonagle, Eamon Melaugh, Larry Dickinson and Tony McGrath. The exhibition also includes projections, video installations, contemporary political posters and a wealth of other ephemera from the time.
‘The Lost Moment’ was produced by Gallery of Photography in partnership with the Nerve Centre, Derry~Londonderry. Supported by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The organisers thank RTÉ Archives, Remote Photo Festival, the Cain Archive at Ulster University, Belfast Archive Project, Linen Hall Library and National Museums Northern Ireland. Gallery of Photography is supported by Arts Council Ireland and Dublin City Council.