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Royal Ulster Academy 130th annual exhibition

Getting to the art of the matter here Ulster Museum, Botanic Gardens, Belfast, Until November 20, Tues-Sun, 10am-5pm

Probably the highlight of Northern Ireland’s visual arts calendar, this event is now in its 130th year and features well over 300 paintings, drawings and sculptures selected from an open submission of more than 1,000 entries.

The judging panel was led by the current President of the RUA, Julian Friers, who said that this year he was “impressed with the number of very striking portraits and landscapes that were submitted” adding that the exhibition “provides a fascinating reflection of much of the best of contemporary Irish art”.

Kim Mawhinney, Head of Art at National Museums Northern Ireland, said that the exhibition”offers visitors new ways of exploring art, creating a real sense of discovery and fun,” while at the same time offering the Museum “a fresh opportunity to engage with a wider audience”.

Exhibiting artists include Brian Ballard, Rita Duffy, Gary Devon, Alice Maher and Paul Seawright but, along with these and many other established artists, the exhibition is showcasing local emerging talent, with six graduates invited from the University of Ulster.

Alongside the exhibition a wide range of educational activities have been scheduled. Aimed at schools, families, art enthusiasts and the wider general public, they include guided tours, lunchtime lectures and, in what is a real highlight, a live portrait workshop by RUA members, with the BBC’s Noel Thompson as the sitter.

Hands-on workshops for children, young people and adults are available on Sundays at 2.30pm.

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For further information visit www.royalulsteracademy.org.

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