Victor Sloan

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Victor Sloan
Self-Portrait I, silver gelatin print, with coloured pencils, 60cms x 50cms, 1993.jpg
Self-Portrait, silver gelatin print,with coloured pencils, 60cms x 50 cm, 1993
Born (1945-07-16) 16 July 1945 (age 69)
Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
Nationality Northern Irish
Education Belfast College of Art, Leeds College of Art and Design
Known for Photography, Video, Mixed Media

Victor Sloan MBE (born Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, 1945) is a Northern Irish photographer and artist.

Life and work[edit]

Victor Sloan studied at the Royal School, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone and Belfast and Leeds Colleges of Art, England. He lives and works in Portadown, County Armagh in Northern Ireland. Employing primarily the medium of photography, he manipulates his negatives and reworks his prints with paints, inks, toners and dyes. In addition to photography, he also uses video, and printmaking techniques.

His works are a response to political, social and religious concerns. He is perhaps best known for his works investigating the Orange Order in series such as: Drumming; The Walk, the Platform and the Field and The Birches.

Victor Sloan was awarded an MBE in 2002. He is an academician of the Royal Ulster Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. He won the Academy's Conor Prize in 1988 and the Gold Medal in 1995 and 2008. The Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast held a major exhibition of his work (Victor Sloan: Selected Works 1980–2000) in 2001. In 2008, the exhibition History, Locality, Allegiance, curated by Peter Richards at the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, brought together a comprehensive selection of past works, with a particular focus on his video works.

Books about Victor Sloan and his work include Marking the North by Brian McAvera (1989), Victor Sloan: Selected Works by Aidan Dunne (2001), Victor Sloan: Walk, by Jürgen Schneider (2004) and Luxus by Glenn Patterson (2007).

In Ireland and the UK, Sloan's work is included in public collections such as the Arts Council of Northern Ireland; the Ulster Museum; the State Art Collection, Ireland; the National Self-Portrait Collection of Ireland; the British Telecommunications, the Millennium New Media Collection; the Imperial War Museum, London and the National Media Museum, Bradford, England.

Belfast Zoo III, silver gelatin print, toner, oil pastel and torn paper, 25cms x 25 cm, 1983 by Victor Sloan


A typical image from the Northern Irish works of Victor Sloan is Walk X View Image from 1985. It is a silver gelatin print, 64 cm. by 50 cm. In it we see dead centre, splitting the image, a uniformed police officer with a peaked cap. He is in profile, staring tight-lipped at the parade, feet apart in a rooted stance, symbol of law-and-order but also unusually for the North, of impartiality, indicated by his dead centre stance. From the left a huge Lambeg drum, strapped to its unseen owner's chest, juts out across the body; but it has been rendered semi-transparent so that the outline shape of the police officer can still be seen. On one level this drum functions as a musical instrument, the rhythmic 'keeper of the beat'. But the unhinged arm, wielder of a timpani-like drum-stick, indicates not only the wardrum call, but also the potential of the drum-stick as a weapon. On another level the drum is like a Jasper Johns target with its concentric circles of black, white, black and white again for the heart of the target. The paradox is that the police officer who has often been seen, in the eyes of Catholics, as the defender of the Protestant tradition, has now become a target for his own loyalist people (the police being a largely Protestant force).

From Stadium Installation, Victor Sloan


Victor Sloan's video work includes a 44-minute video of an 8 mm looped film fragment of The Little Rascals,(1930s), which destroys itself and catches fire. This was shown in the Gastag in Munich and in Toskanische Saulenhalle, Augsburg, Germany, 2004 as part of his installation Stadium. Gavin Weston in the Sunday Times describes it when first exhibited in the Old Museum Arts Centre, Belfast: "...a noisy trundling projector surrounded by four large prints at which one strains to peer through the blacked-out gloom. Staring back in time and this dingy light are the eyes of Adolf Hitler, bolstered by images of the Werner March/ Albert Speer – designed stadium that hosted the Berlin Olympics of 1936. There is no further direct reference to Jesse Owens, the Führer's gravest embarrassment, but flickering through this laden environment, archive footage of white children allowing a black child to draw the short straw, serves as an indicator".

The video work Walk (28 minutes, 2004.), has been shown in Berlin and Augsburg, Germany; Belfast, Portadown and Dublin, Ireland; Pretoria, South Africa; Bialystok, Poland; Madrid, Spain; Paris, France, and Damascus, Syria.

Susan McKay describes the video in the Irish Times: Walk shows, in slow, plodding motion, an Orange walk (as the parades are properly known to those who take part in them). The marchers appeared to disappear into a mirror, and the sound was distorted so that drumbeats sounded out suddenly like shots, and voices were slowed down to groans. In the end, the last shiny black shoe has marched into the mirror leaving an empty street. It is a melancholy piece".

Other video works include Drumcree (2001) and Fishtank (2006).

Notable exhibitions[edit]

From Walk Video Installation, Victor Sloan
  • Art of the Troubles, Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2014[1]
  • The Far Away Nearby, F E McWilliams Gallery & Studio, Banbridge, 2014[2]
  • Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography, the MAC and Belfast Exposed, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2013
  • Picturing Derry, the City Factory, Derry, Northern Ireland, as part of UK City of Culture, 2013
  • Aleppo International Photography Festival, Aleppo, Syria, 2012
  • Nepotism+ 1, curated by Feargal O'Malley, Platform Arts, Belfast, 2012
  • Voices from the Levant, Context Gallery, Derry, with Brian Kennedy, 2011
  • Images: Victor Sloan, Art and Design Academy, LJMU, Look International Photography Festival, Liverpool, England, 2011
  • Syrian Artists Talking, with Brian Kennedy, Naughton Gallery, Belfast, 2011
  • Portrait of the North, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, England, 2010–2011
  • Victor Sloan: Walk, AllArtNow Gallery, Damascus, Syria, 2010
  • The Art of the Troubles, Mid Antrim Museum, Northern Ireland, 2010
  • Elective Perspective, Galeria Arsenale, Białystok, Poland, 2010
  • A View From Napoleon’s Nose, curated by Brian Kennedy, Kao Yuan Arts Centre, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 2010
  • The Northern Ireland Collection: Fresh Perspectives, curated by Zoë Lippett, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, England, 2009/10
  • Arts Council of Northern Ireland Troubles Archive Exhibition, curated by Feargal O'Malley and Liam Kelly, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast, 2009
  • An Eye for an Eye: Representations of Conflict in Ireland, curated by Dermot Keogh and Ruth Osborne, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork, 2008/9
  • A Shout in the Street: Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art, curated by Declan McGonagle, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, 2008
  • Drawing a Line: A Contemporary Survey of Northern Irish Art, curated by Peter Richards, Museum of the Heilongjiang Daily, China, 2008
  • Breakthrough, Imperial War Museum, London, 2008–2010
  • Victor Sloan: History, Locality, Allegiance, curated by Peter Richards, Golden Thread Gallery, Switch Room, Belfast, 2008
  • Victor Sloan: Walk:, Diversions Festival, Gallery of Photography, Dublin, (Projection, Meeting House Square), 2007
  • Victor Sloan: Luxus, Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown, 2007
  • Things We May Have Missed, curated by Peter Richards, Switch Room, Belfast, 2007
  • Victor Sloan: Walk:, Théâtre Paris-Villette, Paris, France, (Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin), 2006
  • Icons of the North: Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art, Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Co. Meath, 2006
  • Northern Propositions: Art of the Troubles, An Gaileraí, Falcarragh, Donegal, 2006
  • Icons of the North: Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art, Socio-Political Art from 1969 -1994, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, 2006
  • Beyond the Troubles: Kunst aus Irland, Raum5 Galerie, Berlin, Germany, 2005
  • Seeing Orange, Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown, 2005
  • Victor Sloan: Walk, Toskanische Saulenhalle, Augsburg, Germany, 2004
  • Open Secret, Imperial War Museum, London, 2004
  • Blue Skies, Grey Mists, Old Museum Arts Centre, Belfast, 2004
  • The Public Eye, City Art Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2003
  • Political Works from the Arts Council Collection, Context Gallery, Derry, 2002
  • Revealed Treasures, Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast, 2002
  • The Public Eye: 50 years of the Arts Council Collection, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast, 2002
  • Victor Sloan: Selected Works 1980–2000, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast, 2001
  • Recent Work from Northern Ireland, curated by Wayne Bearwaldt, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg, Canada, 2001[3]
  • Victor Sloan: Portadown, Orchard Gallery, Derry, 2000
  • Troubled: An Exhibition of Irish Art, Pitshanger Manor Museum, London, 2000
  • Revealing Views: Images from Ireland, Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, London, 1999
  • Victor Sloan: Selected Works, Medienzentrum, Bremen, Germany, 1999
  • Victor Sloan: Stadium, Context Gallery, Derry; Old Museum Arts Centre, Belfast; galerie + edition caoc/Walden Kunstausstellungen, Berlin and Gasteig München, Munich, Germany, 1998–99
  • Troubled: Photography, Film and Video from Northern Ireland, The Light Factory, Charlotte; Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh; Wake Forest University Fine Arts Gallery, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, US, 1998–1999
  • Zeitgenössische britische Fotografie, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Kunstamt Kreuzberg/Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin. and Kunstverein Ludwigshafen, Germany, 1997–98
  • Victor Sloan: Seek Me, Goteborg Konstmuseum, Hasselblad Centre, Gothenburg and Bildmuseet Umea, Umea Universitets Museum, Sweden, 1996–97
  • Victor Sloan: Poza Bornym Sulinowem, Baszty Czarownic, Slupsk, Poland, 1996
  • The Lie of the Land, Gallery of Photography, Dublin, Centre Nationale de la Photographie, Paris, France and touring Europe, 1995–98
  • Victor Sloan: Borne Sulinowo, Orchard Gallery, Derry, 1995
  • Cease-fire: Reflections of Conflict, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, 1994
  • Victor Sloan: Initials, Baltic Gallery of Contemporary Art, Poland, 1994
  • Bradford Print Exhibition, Cartwright Hall, Bradford, 1993
  • Victor Sloan: Acts of Faith, Gallery of Photography, Dublin and touring UK, 1992–95
  • I-D Nationale, Portfolio Gallery and 369 Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1992
  • The Long Summer Still to Come: Some Aspects of Recent Irish Photography, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, 1991
  • Parable Island: Some Aspects of Recent Irish Art, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, 1991
  • Victor Sloan: Force Fields, Mannheimer Kunstverein, Germany, 1991
  • Victor Sloan: Marking the North, Impressions Gallery, York and Cornerhouse, Manchester, 1990 – 92
  • Heritage – Image and History, curated by Paul Wombel, City Art Gallery and Impressions Gallery, York; Cornerhouse, Manchester and Greenwich Citizens Gallery, London, 1990–91
  • Irish Art of the Eighties, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, 1990
  • Sun Life Awards, National Museum of Photography, Film and Television (now the National Media Museum), Bradford, 1989
  • Victor Sloan: Walls, Orchard Gallery, Derry, 1989
  • Ulster Art in the 80s, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin, 1988
  • Victor Sloan: The Birches, Orpheus Gallery, Belfast, 1988
  • Selected Images – A Sense of Ireland, curated by Declan McGonagle and James Coleman, Riverside Studios, London and Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, 1988
  • Magnetic North, Orchard Gallery, Derry and Impressions Gallery, York, 1987–88
  • Directions Out, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, 1987
  • Critics’ Choice, Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast, 1987
  • Contrasts, Fung Ping Shan Museum, Hong Kong, China, 1987
  • Next: Tomorrow, Cambridge Darkroom and Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, 1986
  • Victor Sloan: Drumming, Arts Council of Northern Ireland Gallery, Belfast, 1986
  • Divisions, Crossroads, Turns of Mind: Some New Irish Art, curated by Lucy Lippard, touring US, Finland and Ireland, 1985–86
  • Irish Exhibition of Living Art, Guinness Hop Store, Dublin, 1985
  • Independent Artists, Guinness Hop Store, Dublin, 1984
  • EV+A, Exhibition of Visual Art, City Gallery of Art, Limerick, 1981
Route III (Lurgan), silver gelatin print, toners and gouache, Victor Sloan

Public collections[edit]


  • Sverakova, Slavka, (2014), Sloan, Victor in "The Faraway Nearby", F.E. McWilliam Gallery, Northern Ireland, ISBN 978-1-908455-11-6
  • Johnston,Sandra, (2013), Sloan, Victor in "Beyond Reasonable Doubt", LIT Verlag, ISBN 978-3643904409
  • Barber, Fionna, (2013), Sloan, Victor in Art in Ireland since 1910, Reaktion Books, London, England, ISBN 978 1 78023 0368
  • Graham, Colin, (2013), Sloan, Victor in Northern Ireland: 30 years of Photography, Belfast Exposed/The MAC, Belfast, Northern Ireland, ISBN 978-0-9561766-1-5
  • Carville, Justin, (2011), Sloan, Victor in Photography and Ireland, Reaktion Books, London, England. ISBN 1-86189-871-1
  • Maigron, Maryline, Salati, Marie-Odile, Eds. (2010). Sloan, Victor in La Surface: accidents et altérations, Éditions de l'université de Savoie, Paris, France, ISBN 2-915797-63-3
  • McGonagle, Declan, (2010). Sloan, Victor in A shout in the street: Reflections on another way of looking, Wasafiri, Oxfordshire, England: Routledge, ISSN 0269-0055
  • Kennedy, Brian, (2010). Sloan, Victor in A View From Napoleon’s Nose, Kaohsiung, Taiwan: Kao Yuan Arts Centre, ISBN 978-986-6755-28-6
  • Graham, Colin, (2009), Visual Culture in Britain, Volume 10, Issue 2. Oxfordshire, England: Routledge, ISSN 1471-4787
  • Long, Declan, (2009), Visual Art and the Conflict in Northern Ireland, Troubles Archive Essays. Belfast: Arts Council of Northern Ireland, ISBN 0-903203-20-0
  • Sloan, Victor and Donnelly, Ann. Eds. (2009) My country is where I am, Craigavon: Arts Development: Craigavon Borough Council, ISBN 978-0-9564403-1-0
  • Brady, Sara and Walsh, Fintan, Eds. (2009) Crossroads: Performance Studies and Irish Culture. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave, ISBN 978-0-230-21998-4
  • McGonagle, Declan (2008). Sloan, Victor in A Shout in the Street: Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art. Belfast, Northern Ireland: Golden Thread Gallery. ISBN 978-0-9557469-2-5
  • Richards, Peter (2008). Sloan, Victor in Contemporary Art: Northern Ireland. China, Museum of the Heilongjiang Daily
  • Patterson, Glenn (2007). Luxus. Portadown: Millennium Court Arts Centre. ISBN 978-0-9549816-5-5
  • Szabó, Carmen (2007). Sloan, Victor in Clearing the Ground. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 1-84718-180-5
  • Alcobia-Murphy, Shane (2006). Sloan, Victor in Sympathetic Ink: Intertextual Relations in Northern Irish Poetry. Liverpool, England: Liverpool University Press. ISBN 1-84631-032-6
  • Gallagher, William (2006). Sloan, Victor in The National Self-Portrait Collection of Ireland – volume 2, 1989–1999. Limerick, Ireland: University of Limerick Press. ISBN 0-946846-33-2
  • McAvera, Brian, (2006). Sloan, Victor in Icons of the North: Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art. Belfast: Golden Thread Gallery. ISBN 0-9549633-3-4
  • Alcobia-Murphy, Shane (2005). Sloan, Victor in Governing the Tongue in Northern Ireland: The Place of Art/The Art of Place. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press. ISBN 1-904303-60-9
  • Graham, Colin (2005). Sloan, Victor in Cotter, Lucy (Ed.), Third Text . “Every Passer-by a Culprit?”, Kala Press/Black Umbrella. ISSN 09528822
  • Tipton, Gemma (2005). Sloan, Victor in Space: Architecture for Art. Dublin: Circa. ISBN 0-9550319-0-7
  • Schneider, Jürgen (2004). Victor Sloan: Walk. Augsburg, Germany: Kulturbüro der Stadt.
  • Graham, Colin (2003). Sloan, Victor in Allen, Nicholas; Kelly, Aaron (Eds.) The Cities of Belfast. Dublin: Four Courts Press. ISBN 1-85182-771-4
  • Clancy, Martin (2002). Sloan, Victor in Brian Lalor (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Ireland. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. ISBN 0-7171-3000-2
  • Dunne, Aidan (2001). Victor Sloan: Selected Works 1980–2000. Belfast: Ormeau Baths Gallery. ISBN 0-9540086-0-X
  • Kiang, Tanya; McCabe, Martin; Wilson, Michael (2001). Sloan, Victor in W.J. McCormack (Ed.), Blackwell Companion to Modern Irish Culture. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-16525-8
  • Brady, Ciaran (2000). Sloan, Victor in Encyclopedia of Ireland. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. ISBN 0-19-521685-7
  • MacKillop, James (1999) Sloan, Victor in Contemporary Irish cinema. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. ISBN 0-8156-0568-4
  • McCabe, Martin (1999). Sloan, Victor in Revealing Views. London: Royal Festival Hall. ISBN 1-85332-194-X
  • Buckman, David (1998). Sloan, Victor in The Dictionary of Artists in Britain Since 1945. Samson. ISBN 0-9532609-0-9
  • Williams, Val (1997). Sloan, Victor in On The Bright Side Of Life: Zeitgenössische Britische Fotografie. Berlin: Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst. ISBN 3-926796-50-2
  • Kelly, Liam (1996). Sloan, Victor in Paul Brennan and Catherine de Saint Phalle, (Eds.), Désirs d'Irlande. Paris, France: Actes Sud. ISBN 2-7427-0748-4
  • Schneider, Jürgen (1996) Victor Sloan. Poland: Biuro Wystaw Artystycznych. ISBN 83-903457-9-X
  • Kelly, Liam (1996). Sloan, Victor in Thinking Long – Contemporary Art In The North Of Ireland. Dublin: Gandon Editions. ISBN 0-946641-66-8
  • O’Toole, Finton (1995). Sloan, Victor in Lie of the Land. Dublin: Gallery of Photography. ISBN 0-9526741-0-6
  • Roberts, John (1992). Sloan, Victor in Selected Errors, Writings on Art and Politics, 1981–1990. London: Pluto Press. ISBN 0-7453-0498-2
  • Mellor, David; Wood, Nancy (1992). Sloan, Victor in I-D Nationale. Edinburgh: Portfolio. ISBN 0-9520608-0-9
  • Hutchinson, John (1990) Sloan, Victor in A New Tradition: Irish Art of the Eighties. Dublin: Douglas Hyde Gallery. ISBN 0-907660-37-1
  • Watkins, Jonathan; Burns, Gerry; Strather, Martin (1991). Sloan, Victor in Kunst Europa. H. Schmidt. ISBN 3-87439-240-6
  • McAvera, Brian (1989). Marking The North-The Work of Victor Sloan. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. ISBN 1-872496-01-6
  • McGonagle, Declan; Odling-Smee, James; Burns, Gerry (1989). Victor Sloan: Walls. Derry: Orchard Gallery. ISBN 0-907797-52-0
  • McAvera, Brian (1989). Sloan, Victor in Art, Politics and Ireland. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. ISBN 1-872496-00-8
  • Mirfenderesky, Jamshid (1988). Sloan, Victor in Ulster Art in the 80s. Dublin: RHA Gallagher Gallery. ISBN 1-871630-00-2
  • McAvera, Brian (1986). Sloan, Victor in Directions Out – An investigation into a selection of artists whose work has been formed by the post 1969 situation in Northern Ireland. Dublin: Douglas Hyde Gallery. ISBN 0-907660-20-7
  • Lippard, Lucy R (1985). Sloan, Victor in Divisions, Crossroads, Turns of Mind; Some New Irish Art. Ireland America Arts Exchange Inc., Wisconsin and Williams College Museum of Art, US ASIN B00070NKCS


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  3. ^ C International Contemporary Art, Winnipeg, Canada, No. 72, Winter, 2002, p. 44-45.
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