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Documentation and reviews

I have been incredibly fortunate to meet so many talented and supportive artists and creative associates since embarking on my artistic journey in South Eastern Regional College in 2013. Becoming a part of the community and giving back some support is integral to my practice, inspired by the work of Joseph Beuys, 

This page includes documentation of my own work as well as documentation I have made for others. Each event is a learning experience, often never quite knowing what will happen next. 

Gallery Days R-Space Gallery, 2021

In the third video of a new series from the Arts Council, broadcaster, artist and DJ, Joe Lindsay, visits some of Northern Ireland’s galleries and takes in the exhibitions on offer.

I talked to Joe about the Birgit Schoenaker exhibition. The Dutch artist was unable to attend the exhibition so Robert and I had to recreate one of her pieces in the gallery.

MMM 9, Remember, 2021
R-Space Gallery, Lisburn
Every year R-Space Gallery runs an open call group exhibition on different themes with an overall focus on Materials, Messages and Meanings. The gallery was unable to host an opening reception and the artists talks were recorded and posted online. Introducing: Hannah Magill Shaw Patrick Colhoun Susan Hughes Zara Lyness Niamh Clarke Rita Duffy Each artist selected for the exhibition talks about the work they are presenting and the meaning behind it. From family cook books, to getting lost to dolls' houses, the theme of 'Remember' is woven through each story, revealing surprising similarities and differences.

Tangible Selves, 2020


Tangible Selves was a project curated by Moran Been Noon, working with Moon Base group and the Black Box, Belfast. During lockdown I ran a series of online workshops with the participants looking at identity. The workshops were divided in to clay, sound and image sessions with all the members making selfie sticks at the end. This video is a compilation of all their work.

Thanks to Seonaid Murray, Outreach Officer, Moon Base Projects, The Black Box, Zara Lyness, Lead Artist, Catherine Devlin, Photographer and Videographer and Moran Been-noon, Curator and Video Editor 

The Presence of Absence

QSS Gallery, Belfast 2019

Kind words from Slavka Sverakova

Zara Lyness

is a talented ceramicist.  In the assemblage below, only the few white specks stand for her exquisite ability. This assemblage is allowed to stay descriptive. Wood and coal and clay are the powers that make the creative force of the ceramicist visible. What intrigues me, is the down to earth confession, that making ceramic art is hard and sweaty job, that adds to the production of smoke, that may contribute to climate change. The artists leaves the coal and wood ready but unused. yet without burning there would not be china, pottery, ceramics... The ceramic forms are not easily legible, I sensed some unexpected seriousness in those shapes.

Where you are lost, we are Sídhe

Engage Gallery, Galway 2019

Curator Moran Been Noon

Where you are lost, we are Sídhe is explored ideas situated between land art practice, traditionally-feminine creative crafts, and contemporary art practice. Each of the artwork presented is rooted to an action that began outdoors. The artists look at natural landscapes and social structures and explore their place within them as women, as artists, as occupants of space. Their actions are different from those of men artists who work with landscape: They do not conquer, they do not reshape, displace, or replace. They place a body or a texture, they harvest to create.

creatively acting outdoors, indoors, and filling the space with their work, these artists are constituting a reality in which land art means placing and creating rather than displacing and reshaping. The idea of “constituting a reality” references Judith Butler’s ‘Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory’ where Butler states that acting within public reality, unlike theatrical acting, potentially constitutes a changed reality. The work is rooted outdoors; it comments on the social structures that await us when we walk outside; it represents a creative relationship with land.


Moran Been Noon- Circa Magazine Degree Show Writers choice, 2017

'The editors at CIRCA requested

that I choose a work at the Belfast School of Art 2017 degree show. I picked Zara Lyness’ work, a finely put-together space commenting on context and materiality of the artist’s installation work.'

Framewerk Gallery, Belfast Mar 2018 Cinderella Complex evolved from a performance made for the Belfast International Festival of Performance Art in 2017. Like the traces of a footprint, these daily interactions leave a print on us. The story of Cinderella has been retold with variations through generations of story telling. It is a tale of cruelty, neglect, deception and overcoming adversity, as well as shoes. The slippers in the story vary from gold to glass, but the ending is the same, a happy ever after with the prince. Cinderella emerges like a butterfly from a chrysalis, leaving behind her unhappy childhood to start a new life. The happy ever after, for the purposes of the fairytale.

On behalf of NVTV, Curator Marianne O’Kane Boal has helped develop a partnership of NVTV and VAI (NI) to run a showcase series of programmes on the history of studio groups, current collectives in Belfast and discussion around artist run spaces. Relating to the VAI Belfast Open Studios event it aimed to raise awareness of this sector and bring attention to both the challenges and opportunities of this way of working. It is hoped that with recent research in publications such as Artist Run Europe and the Footfall Report, coupled with the lively artist-led scene in Belfast, that this film project can draw attention to Belfast’s place in the sector nationally and internationally.

Screened September 27th from 6-9pm,  2 panel sessions with a range of studio/collective representatives. Marianne O’Kane Boal and Rob Hilken of VAI (NI) are panel chairs. This event will have an audience. The proceedings would be filmed and the footage will be utilised in a documentary film on artist-led activity in the city. The event was held at the NVTV Studio. NVTV is located above Belfast Exposed at 23 Donegall St, Belfast BT1 2FF.

Practised Hands March 2018 To celebrate International Women's Day, Pollen Studio held an evening of archival film and performance. Alongside the screening of scenes from the local linen industry and the significance it had upon working women, artists Jayne Cherry and Alice Clark undertook a performance re-evaluating the significance of linen and the ways it can be repurposed for today. The cloth has an illustrious past but how do we imagine a future for the cloth in a consumer society which disregards waste. This event was in partnership with Film Hub NI and showcases footage from the Northern Ireland Screen Digital Film Archive. It was funded by BFI Film Audience Network supported by The National Lottery. The performance was held in the gallery for Late Night Art Belfast, a city wide gallery opening night that happens on the first Thursday of every month.

Documentation & editing: Zara Lyness.

After a visit by Slavka for the first time to GooseLane Gallery she kindly wrote about our latest exhibition in the space.

2017 Degree Shows. Mo McDevitt meets the graduating students of Belfast School of Arts as they showcase their end of year work and talk about their artistic motivations.

My chat with is 10 mins into the program.

Slavka Sverakova also commented on my work in her art blog

Collect and Connect was an interim show before graduation in 2017. The exhibition was developed from a socially engaged performance made during the Belfast International Festival of Performance Art (BIFPA) in 2016 connecting with work developed in the studio after a family bereavement. During BIFPA 2016 I set up a social corner in the foyer of the Belfast campus in Ulster University. Sitting with a sewing machine, I invited participating arts, students and members of the public to gift me with words and phrases by writing them on strips of torn fabric. As we sat talking, I free embroidered the words on to the material. The exhibited bells were a combination of porcelain and wax, whole and damaged, combined with mixed media including silver leaf, wool, hair, fixtures and fittings. After the death of a family member, I inherited a garage full of all the oddities, tools and objects he had collects over years. The objects told different stories, giving the silent bells a voice. I gathered the gifts of the words, pinning the torn fabric to my sleeves. Picking up voiceless bells, I supported the silence with the heavy load of the words dragging on my arms. Discarding the weight of the words and breaking the mould for the silent bells, I was able to look for and find my own voice and move on.

Documentation: Jayne Cherry. Editing: Zara Lyness.

Documentation of the Penny For Your Thoughts performance made during the 2016 Belfast International Festival of Performance Art. This performance was made in the foyer of the college and the aim was to create a space between performances where artists and the public could share thoughts and comments about art and life in general. I asked for participants to write their thoughts on strips of fabric that I free embroidered as we talked. The atmosphere in the space was very relaxed and the conversations rambled from Blackpool donkeys to favourite foods.

Documentation & editing: Zara Lyness,

A live sound Performance. Seven starlings are being watched by seven starlings each, this is Murmuration. Listen and follow, watch and follow and let the sound tell you how to fly. 3rd December 2015

I took part in this event, using my voice for the first time in public performance.

Documentation & editing: Zara Lyness

Encouraged by Brian Connolly to take part in my first performance event, I was surrounded by new faces and approaches. Not mentioned in the credits, I can be spotted covered in newspapers several times throughout the video.

Documentation & editing: Max Surin

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