Paul Seawright

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Seawright's Valley, taken in Afghanistan in 2002.

Paul Seawright (born 1965) is a Northern Irish artist. Seawright is the professor of photography and the Executive Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Belfast School of Art at Ulster University in Belfast.[1] He lives in his birthplace of Belfast.

Life and work[edit]

Seawright gained an art foundation at Ulster University, Belfast; a BA (Hons) in Photography, Film and Video from West Surrey College of Art and Design, where his tutors included Paul Graham and Martin Parr; and a PhD from the University of Wales.

He is best known for his early work from his home city of Belfast, particularly the series Sectarian Murder, 1988.[2] 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,[3] urban Africa (Invisible Cities)[n 1] and America.[4] In 2002, he travelled to Afghanistan, having been commissioned by the Imperial War Museum, London, to respond to the September 11 attacks and the subsequent war against the Taliban. His photographs of minefields and battle sites have been exhibited internationally and are in numerous public collections.

In 2005, the Fotomuseum Antwerp exhibited a major survey exhibition of his work with accompanying catalogue Field Notes.[n 2]

Seawright was Dean of Newport School of Art, Media and Design at the University of Wales, Newport.[1] Later he was, and remains (in 2017), professor of photography at Belfast School of Art at Ulster University in Belfast.[1] From 2012 he was head of Belfast School of Art[1] and is now (2017) its Executive Dean of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences.[1] He is a Council member of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland[5][6] and Vice President of the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts.[7][8]


Publications by Seawright[edit]

Publications with contributions by Seawright[edit]


  • The Art Institute of Chicago.
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
  • The Tate, London.[9]
  • 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


Notable exhibitions[edit]

  • Mikkelin Valokuvakeskus, Mikkeli, Finland, 1989
  • Gallery Vapauden Aukion, Helsinki, Finland, 1989
  • Shocks to the System, Arts Council of Great Britain, Royal Festival Hall, London, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 1991
  • Paul Seawright, The Orange Order, The Photographers' Gallery, London, 1991
  • The Gallery of Photography, Dublin, 1992
  • Through the Lens, Arts Council of Northern Ireland touring exhibition (USA)1992/3
  • Recent Acquisitions, Ulster Museum, Belfast, 1992
  • History of the Photographic Image, Rencontres Intls de la Photographie, Arles,1992
  • Impressions Gallery, York, 1992
  • The International Center of Photography, New York, 1992
  • The Old Museum, Belfast, 1993
  • Arts Council Gallery, Belfast,1993
  • Documentary Dilemmas, British Council touring Europe, South America, India, Ireland, 1993/4
  • The United Nations General Assembly Building, New York, 1993
  • Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, Oregon, 1993
  • Paul seawright, Sectarian Murder, Cornerhouse, Manchester, 1994
  • Paul Seawright, Inside InformationGallery of Photography, Dublin, 1995
  • Paul Seawright, Inside Information, The Photographers' Gallery, London, 1995
  • Houston Fotofest, 1996
  • Ffotogallery, Cardiff, 1996
  • Ceasefire, Wolverhampton Museum and Art Gallery 1995
  • L'Imaginaire Irlandais, Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, 1996
  • Inside Out, Galerie du Jour/Agnes B. Paris - 3 Person with Richard Billingham and Tom Wood, 19996
  • Lie of the Land touring exhibition - Gallery of Photography, Dublin, Centre Nationale de la Photographie, Paris, Copenhagen, Salamanca, Athens.
  • Françoise Knabe Gallery, Frankfurt,1997
  • Le Lieu, l'Orient, France, 1997
  • Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, Oregon, 1997
  • Photos Leurres, French Institute, Prague (Nan Goldin, Lewis Baltz, Sophie Ristelheuber), 1998
  • Le Printemps, Cahor, France - Two Person Exhibition with Martin Parr.
  • Sightings - New Photographic Art, ICA, London, 1998
  • Europe in Decay, 3 Person at Light Hall, Kuopio and Helsinki Cathedral, 1998
  • Troubled, Photography and Video from Northern Ireland, The Light Factory, and Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, North Carolina, 1998
  • Galerie du Jour/Agnes b, Paris, 1998
  • Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, 1998
  • Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, 1998
  • Angles Gallery, Santa Monica, 1998
  • Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, 1998
  • Declinations of Boundaries, Two Person Show, Galerie Lichtblick, Cologne, 1999
  • Revealing Views; Images from Ireland, Royal Festival Hall, London, 1999
  • Under Exposed, Public Art Project, Stockholm.
  • Contemporary Art, Arts Council of Ireland Collection, Limerick City Art Gallery
  • Silent Presence, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-BadenGermany
  • Concern for the Document, Vox, Le Mois de la Photo, Montreal, Canada, 1999
  • Contemporary Art, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast, 1999
  • Fragments of Document & Memory, Tokyo Photo Bienalle, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, 1999
  • Surveying The Landscape, Lombard/Freid Fine Arts, New York, 1999
  • Engaging Tradition, Hotbath Gallery, Bath, 1999
  • 0044, PS1, New York, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 1999
  • Lautlose Gegenwart, Bielefelder Kunstverein, 2000
  • Foto Biennale, Netherlands Foto Institute, Rotterdam, 2000
  • 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
  • 0044, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast and Crawford, Municipal Art Gallery, Cork
  • British Art Show 5, (Travelling show) Venues include: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Southampton City Art Gallery ; Ffotogallery Cardiff, Ikon Birmingham, 2000
  • Auto Werke, Deichtorhallen - Hamburg. Group show with Gillian Wearing, Wolfgang Tillmans, Sharon Lockhart and Thomas Struth, 2000
  • Centro de Fotografia, University of Salamanca, Spain, 2000
  • Maureen Paley/Interim Art, London, 2000
  • Photo.doc, Forum Box, Helsinki, Finland, 2000
  • Bonakdar Jancou Gallery, New York, 2000
  • Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, 2000
  • Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, 2000
  • Grieder Von Puttkamer, Berlin, 2000
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, 2000
  • 50 Years of Irish Art, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2001
  • On the Margins, Barbara Kraków Gallery Boston, with Michael Ashkin and Jan Henle.
  • Depicting Absence/Implying Presence, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art California, including James Casebere, Sophie Calle, Candida Hofer, 2001
  • Werner Mantz Prize, Centrum Beeldende Kunst, Maastricht, Netherlands, 2001
  • A470 Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno, Wales and Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, 2001
  • New Directions, Winston Wachter Fine Art, Seattle, with Candida Hofer, Vik Muniz and Shirin Neshat, 2001
  • Irish Art Now: From the Poetic to the Political, Chicago Cultural Centre, Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2001
  • Galerie du Jour, Agnes b Paris, 2001
  • Angles Gallery, LA International Bienalle, 2001
  • Hasselblad Centre, Kunst Museum, Gothenburg, Sweden, 2001
  • Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, 2001
  • Inside Open - Napoli, Italy, 2002
  • Foundation Marangoni, Florence Italy, 2002
  • The Gap Show - Critical Art from Great Britain Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund Germany
  • GewaltBilder - Gewalt in der Gegenwartskunst Museum Bellerive, Zürich, 2002
  • The Unblinking Eye, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2002
  • Recherche: Galerie du Jour Agnes b, Paris, 2003
  • Re-Imagining Ireland: Irish Art Today, University of Virginia Art Museum, 2003
  • MKG, Milton Keynes Gallery, 2003
  • Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Gallery, 2003
  • Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno, 2003
  • Chapter, Cardiff, 2003
  • Imperial War Museum, London, 2003
  • Le Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse, 2003
  • L’Espace Vox, Mois de la Photo Montreal, 2003
  • Hidden, Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2003[10]
  • Further, Wales at The 50th Venice Bienalle, 2003[11]
  • Further, National Museum of Wales, Cardifff, 2004
  • Further, Glynn Vivian Swansea, 2004
  • Hidden, Rena Bransten San Francisco, 2004
  • National Centre of Photography Thessiloniki Greece (Photosynkria), 2004
  • Hidden Sies-Hoke Düsseldorf, 2004
  • Centre de la Photographique Ile de France, Paris,2004
  • Four Now – Lewis Gluksman Gallery, University of Cork, Ireland, 2005
  • The Wonderful Fund Collection - Le Musee de Marrakech, Morocco, 2005
  • Motor City – Museum der Bildenden Kunste, Leipzig, 2005
  • Blue Sky Portland - Hidden, 2005
  • Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, Invisible Cities, 2005
  • Seoul Photo Triennale, The Seoul Museum of Art, Korea, 2005
  • Foto Museum Antwerp – Field Notes, 2005
  • Invisible Cities, Kerlin Gallery Dublin 2006
  • Naughton Gallery, Queens University Belfast 2006[12]
  • Invisible Cities, Sies + Hoke Gallery, Dusselldorf, 2006
  • Invisible Cities, Ffotogallery, Cardiff 2007
  • Field Notes, National Media Museum, Bradford 2007[13]
  • How We Are: Photographing Britain, Tate Britain, London 2007[14]
  • Anxious Landscape, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, 2008

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Invisible Cities is here[permanent dead link] in Seawright's website
  2. ^ Field Notes is here Archived 4 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine. in Seawright's website.


External links[edit]