Artist takes conflict work to China
A Belfast-based artist is to represent Northern Ireland at a Chinese art exhibition on women and conflict.
Gail Ritchie's work will explore the impact on women during times of social and political upheaval.
Her paintings, to be exhibited in March, examine the fate of many women and children whose lives were affected by conflict. An image of an elephant is used as a metaphor for remembering.
Ms Ritchie said: "I am delighted that I will be able to travel to Beijing for the opening as it will enable me to meet artists from the other side of the world and learn how their experiences as artists compare to mine.
"My work is informed by studying conflict, past and present, and I hope that the universality of this theme will be meaningful to a Chinese audience. As an artist, international exposure is vital for career development and this project is certainly a major achievement in my practice."
Born in Newtownards, Co Down, Ms Ritchie has exhibited extensively throughout Ireland and enjoys a growing reputation internationally.
Suzanne Lyle, head of visual arts at the Arts Council, said: "To be invited to take part in a show like this is an incredible opportunity for any artist to take their career to that vital next level and develop their reputation internationally.
"It's also a valuable chance to showcase Northern Ireland to the rest of the world through its defining assets, its arts and culture. We have an exceptionally rich seam of artistic talent here and Gail's exhibition in China will give international audiences a flavour of what we have to offer."
She is one of two artists invited to take part in the show and will join Cork-born artist Annette Hennessey, now based in North Antrim, at the exhibition in China.
It is part of the Irish Wave 3 series, which takes place in arts venues in Shanghai and Beijing. It will celebrate contemporary Irish culture and Ireland's burgeoning links with China.