New Void Gallery Billboard Exhibition Explores ‘The State We Are In’


A new outdoor exhibition has taken over the streets of Derry.

Void Gallery presents ‘The State We’re In’ by Willie Doherty as part of the Void Gallery Offsites Billboard Project. Doherty is a national and international figurehead in contemporary photography and cinema.

His work is often done in response to places in and around Derry, exploring the complexity of landscape, memory and identity.

Doherty’s use of text for The Billboard Project not only refers to his early conceptual photo-text works, where photographs were overlaid on texts, but also plays into how texts or slogans are used to delineate. different areas of the city.

How we situate ourselves, the duplicity of identity and the mirror of difference are subjects that permeate Doherty’s work.

In this textual piece, Doherty alludes to Derry’s colloquialisms in a way that is both humorous and questioning; ‘The state we are in’, ‘The state of us’, ‘The state we are in’.

This notice board will be in place until Wednesday 11 August at the corner of Bishop Street and Abercorn Road in Derry.

THE STATE O ARE, Willie Doherty. Courtesy of the Void Gallery. Photograph by Simon Alleyne.

The repeating or mirroring of the ‘The State We’re In’ line in both green (emblem of nationalism) and blue (a color associated with unionism) addresses both sides of the centennial year of the score, a period of reflection on both the past and the future.

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These are complex times; we are in the grip of a global pandemic, the economic impact of Brexit and the issue of climate change resonate in the line “The State Of Us”.

These evocations reflect the nuanced relationship between the city and the times in which we live. Doherty’s work is imbued with an innate knowledge of the region’s history and an awareness of global and political changes.

His attention to subtleties and the importance of language in shaping representations of the city denotes his deep understanding of the ever-changing landscape.

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