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Police Post, South Belfast by Chris Fiddes

This is one of nine paintings in our collection where Fiddes records the conflict in Northern Ireland. These oil paintings were based on sketches he produced during his visit to Belfast in May 1972.

Fiddes was conscious of the Northern Irish conflict, known as the Troubles, that begun in 1968 from reports in the news. However, aware that the news was a more temporary media he felt a duty to go to Belfast and make a permanent record of the conflict and situation on both the Catholic and Protestant sides of Belfast. 

Visiting Belfast was incredibly dangerous for Fiddes as this painting illustrates. This military command post was a common feature across Belfast during the Troubles. While sketching the post Fiddes became suddenly aware of a rifle that was trained on him from the look-out point, just visible in the painting. This led to him being arrested by the British Army and although he was later let go, they did warn him of the risks and unlikelihood of him leaving Belfast alive. Proving that capturing conflict like this first-hand is not for the faint-hearted.

The sketchbook from Fiddes' Belfast trip is also on display in the exhibition.

Oil on panel
On display in Art Gallery 1 at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, as part of the current exhibition Chris Fiddes Challenging Perspectives