Paul Seawright

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Paul Seawright's Valley, taken in Afghanistan in 2002. Courtesy Imperial War Museum, London

Paul Seawright (born 1965) is a Northern Irish artist. He lives in his birthplace of Belfast, Northern Ireland, and is Professor of Photography and Head of Belfast School of Art at the University of Ulster in Belfast.

Life and work[edit]

He is best known for his early work from his home city of Belfast, particularly the series Sectarian Murder, 1988.[1] In this series, he photographed the sites of sectarian murders around Belfast, and paired the images with newspaper reports from the period. By removing reference to the victim's religion, he depoliticised the violence, focusing on the extensive civilian losses in the Northern Irish "troubles" (more than two thirds of deaths between 1969 and the ceasefires of 1994 were civilian). He was also the first editor of the Belfast-based photography magazine Source.

More recently, he has made photographs in post-war Afghanistan[2] and urban Africa (Invisible Cities).[n 1] In 2002, he travelled to Afghanistan, having been commissioned by the Imperial War Museum, London, to respond to the attacks of Sept 11th and the subsequent war against the Taliban. His photographs of minefields and battle sites have been exhibited internationally and are in numerous public collections.

Paul Seawright is Professor of Photography at the University of Ulster, and was formerly Dean of Newport School of Art, Media and Design at the University of Wales, Newport, United Kingdom. He was awarded a personal chair by the University of Wales in 2001, and is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, Royal Ulster Academy of Arts and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 2005, the FotoMuseum Antwerp exhibited a major survey exhibition of his work with accompanying catalogue Field Notes.[n 2]

Seawright is a Council member of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland[3] and Vice President of the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts.


  • Foundation Art - University of Ulster, Belfast
  • BA (Hons) Photography Film and Video - West Surrey College of Art & Design (Tutors Paul Graham and Martin Parr)
  • PhD University of Wales


  • Invisible Cities, Paul Seawright, Works from Africa, Ffotogallery 2007[4]
  • Paul Seawright Field Notes, Fotomuseum Antwerp,2005[5]
  • Landscape of War, Centre d’art la Panera Spain, 2004
  • Gestes, Le Printemps de Septembre Toulouse, Actes Sud, 2003
  • Maintenant: Now, Vincent Levois, Le Mois de la Photo, 2003
  • Re-Imagining Ireland: Irish Art Today, University of Virginia Art Museum, J Hartz.
  • Further: Artists from Wales at the Venice Bienniale, Merrell, 2003
  • Hidden, Paul Seawright, Imperial War museum/ bangorMuseum of Modern Art, 2003
  • Profiles: Paul Seawright by Fintan O’Toole, BBC4, 30 minute documentary, 2003
  • Afghanistan:Ashes to dust, BBC Radio Wales, BBC World Service 30 min documentary, 2002[6]
  • The Gap Show - Critical Art from Great Britain, Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund Germany
  • The Forest, Paul Seawright, Hasselblad Centre, Museum of Fine Art Gotenberg, Sweden, 2001
  • The Map, Paul Seawright, Catalogue/Public Art Project SDCC (22,000 distributed)
  • British Art Show 5, Catalogue, 2000
  • Paul Seawright, Monograph, Centre of Photography, Salamanca, Spain, 2000
  • Tokyo Photo Bienniale Catalogue, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography 1999
  • Irish Art Now, From the Poetic to the Political, Merrell Holberton Publishers,1999
  • Constructing Identity, (The Missing)', Netherlands Foto Museum, Rotterdam 1997
  • Residential, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, 1997
  • L'Imaginaire Irlandais, Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, 1996
  • Inside Information, Paul Seawright, Photographers Gallery, London, 1995
  • Nervous Landscapes, Southeast Museum of Photography, Florida, 1994
  • Documentary Dilemmas, The British Council, London, 1993
  • The Orange Order, Paul Seawright, The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, 1993
  • Shocks to the System, The Arts Council of Great Britain, London, 1993
  • Valokuvataide Arkitaide, Helsinki, 1989
  • Death, Cambridge Darkroom Gallery / Kettles Yard, 1988


  • The Art Institute of Chicago.
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
  • The Tate, London
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Strasbourg.
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig.
  • Government Art Collection, London.
  • Contemporary Art society, London
  • The Imperial War Museum, London
  • National Museum of Wales, Cardiff
  • Portland Art Museum, Oregon
  • Waterford RTC
  • University of Cork/Glucksman
  • Simmons and Simmons, London
  • ACC Bank, Dublin
  • AIB Collection Dublin
  • Deutsche Bank Frankfurt
  • Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum
  • Vereins-und Westbank, Hamburg
  • BMW, Munich
  • Collection Agnes b, Paris
  • The Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada
  • The International Center of Photography, New York
  • The Arts Council of Ireland
  • The Arts Council of Great Britain
  • The Arts Council of Northern Ireland
  • The British Council
  • Southeast Museum of Photography, Florida
  • The Ulster Museum, Belfast
  • Royal Hospitals, Belfast
  • Crawford Art Gallery, Cork
  • The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
  • Buhl Collection, New York
  • Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris

Selected exhibitions[edit]

  • Anxious Landscape, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, 2008
  • How We Are: Photographing Britain, Tate Britain, London 2007[7]
  • Field Notes, National Media Museum, Bradford 2007[8]
  • Invisible Cities, Ffotogallery, Cardiff 2007
  • Invisible Cities, Sies + Hoke Gallery, Dusselldorf, 2006
  • Naughton Gallery, Queens University Belfast 2006[9]
  • Invisible Cities, Kerlin Gallery Dublin 2006
  • Foto Museum Antwerp – Field Notes, 2005
  • Seoul Photo Triennale, The Seoul Museum of Art, Korea, 2005
  • Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, Invisible Cities, 2005
  • Blue Sky Portland - Hidden, 2005
  • Motor City – Museum der Bildenden Kunste, Leipzig, 2005
  • The Wonderful Fund Collection - Le Musee de Marrakech, Morocco, 2005
  • Four Now – Lewis Gluksman Gallery, University of Cork, Ireland, 2005
  • Centre de la Photographique Ile de France, Paris,2004
  • Hidden Sies-Hoke Düsseldorf, 2004
  • National Centre of Photography Thessiloniki Greece (Photosynkria), 2004
  • Hidden, Rena Bransten San Francisco, 2004
  • Further, Glynn Vivian Swansea, 2004
  • Further, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, 2004
  • Further, Wales at The 50th Venice Bienalle, 2003[10]
  • Hidden, Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2003[11]
  • L’Espace Vox, Mois de la Photo Montreal, 2003
  • Le Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse, 2003
  • Imperial War Museum, London, 2003
  • Chapter, Cardiff, 2003
  • Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno, 2003
  • Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Gallery, 2003
  • MKG, Milton Keynes Gallery, 2003
  • Re-Imagining Ireland: Irish Art Today, University of Virginia Art Museum, 2003
  • Recherche: Galerie du Jour Agnes b, Paris, 2003
  • The Unblinking Eye, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2002
  • GewaltBilder - Gewalt in der Gegenwartskunst Museum Bellerive, Zürich, 2002
  • The Gap Show - Critical Art from Great Britain Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund Germany
  • Foundation Marangoni, Florence Italy, 2002
  • Inside Open - Napoli, Italy, 2002
  • Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, 2001
  • Hasselblad Centre, Kunst Museum, Gothenburg, Sweden, 2001
  • Angles Gallery, LA International Bienalle, 2001
  • Galerie du Jour, Agnes b Paris, 2001
  • Irish Art Now: From the Poetic to the Political Chicago Cultural Centre, Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2001
  • New Directions, Winston Wachter Fine Art, Seattle, with Candida Hofer, Vik Muniz and Shirin Neshat, 2001
  • A470 Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno, Wales and Chapter, Cardiff, 2001
  • Werner Mantz Prize, Centrum Beeldende Kunst, Maastricht, Netherlands, 2001
  • Depicting Absence/Implying Presence San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art California, inc James Casebere, Sophie Calle, Candida Hofer, 2001
  • On the Margins, Barbara Kraków Gallery Boston, with Michael Ashkin & Jan Henle.
  • 50 Years of Irish Art, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2001
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, 2000
  • Grieder Von Puttkamer, Berlin, 2000
  • Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, 2000
  • Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, 2000
  • Bonakdar Jancou Gallery, New York, 2000
  • Photo.doc, Forum Box, Helsinki, Finland, 2000
  • Maureen Paley/Interim Art, London, 2000
  • Centro de Fotografia, University of Salamanca, Spain, 2000
  • Auto Werke, Deichtorhallen - Hamburg. Group show with Gillian Wearing, Wolfgang Tillmans, Sharon Lockhart, Thomas Struth, 2000
  • British Art Show 5; (Travelling show) Venues include: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Southampton City Art Gallery ; Ffotogallery Cardiff, Ikon Birmingham, 2000
  • 0044, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast and Crawford, Municipal Art Gallery, Cork
  • Irish Art Now: From the Poetic to the Political, McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College; Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada; Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, 2000/01
  • Foto Biennale, Netherlands Foto Institute, Rotterdam, 2000
  • Lautlose Gegenwart, Bielefelder Kunstverein, 2000
  • 0044, PS1, New York, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 1999
  • Engaging Tradition, Hotbath Gallery, Bath, 1999
  • Surveying The Landscape, Lombard/Freid Fine Arts, New York, 1999
  • Fragments of Document & Memory, Tokyo Photo Bienalle, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, 1999
  • Contemporary Art, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast, 1999
  • Concern for the Document, Vox, Le Mois de la Photo, Montreal, Canada, 1999
  • Silent Presence, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-BadenGermany
  • Contemporary Art, Arts Council of Ireland Collection, Limerick City Art Gallery
  • Under Exposed, Public Art Project, Stockholm.
  • Revealing Views; Images from Ireland, Royal Festival Hall, London, 1999
  • Declinations of Boundaries, Two Person Show, Galerie Lichtblick, Cologne, 1999
  • Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, 1998
  • Angles Gallery, Santa Monica, 1998
  • Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, 1998
  • Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, 1998
  • Galerie du Jour/Agnes b, Paris, 1998
  • Troubled, Photography and Video from Northern Ireland, The Light Factory, and Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, North Carolina, 1998
  • Europe in Decay, 3 Person at Light Hall, Kuopio and Helsinki Cathedral, 1998
  • Sightings - New Photographic Art, ICA, London, 1998
  • Le Printemps, Cahor, France - Two Person Exhibition with Martin Parr.
  • Photos Leurres, French Institute, Prague (Nan Goldin, Lewis Baltz, Sophie Ristelheuber), 1998
  • Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, Oregon, 1997
  • Le Lieu, l'Orient, France, 1997
  • Françoise Knabe Gallery, Frankfurt,1997
  • Lie of the Land touring exhibition - Gallery of Photography, Dublin, Centre Nationale de la Photographie, Paris, Copenhagen, Salamanca, Athens.
  • Inside Out, Galerie du Jour/Agnes B. Paris - 3 Person with Richard Billingham & Tom Wood, 19996
  • L'Imaginaire Irlandais, Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, 1996
  • Ceasefire, Wolverhampton Museum and Art Gallery 1995
  • Ffotogallery, Cardiff, 1996
  • Houston Fotofest, 1996
  • Paul Seawright, Inside Information, The Photographers' Gallery, London, 1995
  • Paul Seawright, Inside InformationGallery of Photography, Dublin, 1995
  • Paul seawright, Sectarian Murder, Cornerhouse, Manchester, 1994
  • Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, Oregon, 1993
  • The United Nations General Assembly Building, New York, 1993
  • Documentary Dilemmas, British Council touring Europe, South America, India, Ireland, 1993/4
  • Arts Council Gallery, Belfast,1993
  • The Old Museum, Belfast, 1993
  • The International Center of Photography, New York, 1992
  • Impressions Gallery, York, 1992
  • History of the Photographic Image, Rencontres Intls de la Photographie, Arles,1992
  • Recent Acquisitions, Ulster Museum, Belfast, 1992
  • Through the Lens, Arts Council of Northern Ireland touring exhibition (USA)1992/3
  • The Gallery of Photography, Dublin, 1992
  • Paul Seawright, The Orange Order, The Photographers' Gallery, London, 1991
  • Shocks to the System, Arts Council of Great Britain, Royal Festival Hall, London, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 1991
  • Gallery Vapauden Aukion, Helsinki, Finland, 1989
  • Mikkelin Valokuvakeskus, Mikkeli, Finland, 1989

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Invisible Cities is here in Seawright's website
  2. ^ Field Notes is here in Seawright's website.


External links[edit]