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Victor Sloan

Born 16 July 1945 (Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.)

Victor Sloan was born in 1945 in Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. He studied at the Royal School, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone and Belfast and Leeds Colleges of Art, the latter in 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.1

Sloan’s 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: DrummingThe Walk, the Platform and the Field and The Birches. 2

Bio & Career

Sloan was awarded an MBE in 2002.  4

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. 5

His exhibition Victor Sloan: Drift, 6curated by Dr Riann Coulter, Curator of the F.E. McWilliam Gallery & Studio and Feargal O’Malley, Curator at the University of Ulster, explored a related though distinct area, tracing the story of the Vietnamese Boat People who settled in Craigavon, Northern Ireland in 1979.

In preparation for this exhibition, Sloan rekindled his friendship with Ka Fue Lay, 7 who was a teenager when he settled in Craigavon in 1979 and now lives in Salisbury, England. Sloan made a video 8 in which Ka Fue Lay discusses his life in Vietnam, displays family photographs and fondly recalls his time in Craigavon. The exhibition also includes Sloan’s black and white photographs of Craigavon from the late 1970s and early 1980s, contemporary images that he created by scratching, painting and bleaching photographic prints, and recent work including large colour photographs of Moyraverty.

Sloan’s exhibition Before,9 in Belfast Exposed Gallery, Belfast, 2017, revealed an excerpt from an extensive but little-seen body of archival photographs that Sloan made in the 1970s and 80s in Northern Ireland. The images document the activities and characters that populated Sloan’s daily life; the urban development of his hometown of Craigavon; and the constant and pervasive presence of the political conflict.

For the artist these photographs functioned as a type of preliminary ‘sketchbook’, shaping the distinctive style and thematics he would later become known for. Viewed together as an exhibition they represent Sloan’s significant contribution to the tradition of Northern Irish documentary practice.10

Books about Sloan and his work include Marking the North by Brian McAvera (1989),11Victor Sloan: Selected Works by Aidan Dunne (2001),12Victor Sloan: Walk, by Jürgen Schneider (2004),13 and Luxus by Glenn Patterson (2007).

External links & References

  1.  Dunne, Aidan (2001). Victor Sloan: Selected Works 1980–2000. Belfast: Ormeau Baths Gallery. ISBN 0-9540086-0-X. 
  2.  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.
  3. Honours for Northern Ireland”. 14 June 2002 – via[/note] 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 2008.3“Victor sloan | Troubles Archive”.
  4. “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 24 June 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  5.[bare URL]
  6. “Ka Fue Lay”i am a migrant. 13 June 2016.
  7.  “Ka Fue Lay”Vimeo.
  8.  “Before”Belfast Exposed.
  9. Ciara Hickey (2017), Victor Sloan, Before, published by Belfast Exposed, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2017, ISBN 978-0-9561766-2-2
  10.  McAvera, Brian (1989). Marking The North-The Work of Victor Sloan. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. ISBN 1-872496-01-6
  11.  Dunne, Aidan (2001). Victor Sloan: Selected Works 1980–2000. Belfast: Ormeau Baths Gallery. ISBN 0-9540086-0-X
  12.  Schneider, Jürgen (2004). Victor Sloan: Walk. Augsburg, Germany: Kulturbüro der Stadt.