Belfast born Donovan Wylie’s interest in photography started at the age of 11. He left school in 1987 and a year later, at the age of just 17, he’d already had exhibitions in Belfast, Dublin, New York and in London, where his collection of photographs ‘The Travellers’ was shown as part of the renowned Irish Arts Festival “A Sense of Ireland 1988”.
Photograph of The Irish Traveller Singer – Busker – “Pecker Dunne” by Donovan Wylie.
Donovan captured these photographs of “The Travellers” at a Gypsy-sites across Ireland, in Belfast, Dublin, Dundalk, Kerry and Cork. Donovan took the pictures on a very old second-hand twin-lens reflex camera, on which, as Donovan said “pressing the shutter was an uncertain business; sometimes it would work, sometimes it would open and close, only how and when it felt like it”. At the time of the exhibition in London Donovan said “The Travellers lead a very different lifestyle, but they are an important part of Ireland’s culture. With the help of my exhibition maybe people will realise this fact”.
Following his London exhibition of “The Travellers”, Donovan was commissioned by the publisher Seker and Warburg to produce the book ‘32 Counties’, after which many more book publications and exhibitions followed.
This showing of “The Travellers” as part of The Irish Cultural Centre’s Season, “Pavee Song, Parvee Culture” gives you a very rare glimpse of Wylie’s very early works, captured at the age of just 17. Since then, throughout the past three decades, Donovan fast became a world leading photographer and one of the finest photographers of his generation.
In 1992 Wylie was invited to become a nominee of the prestigious international Magnum Photos and in 1998 he became a full member. Much of his work, often described as ‘Archaeologies’, has stemmed primarily to date from the political and social landscape of Northern Ireland. His book The Maze was published to international acclaim in 2004, as was British Watchtowers in 2007. In 2001 he won a BAFTA for his film The Train, and he has had solo exhibitions at the Photographers’ Gallery, London, PhotoEspana, Madrid, and the National Museum of Film, Photography and Television, Bradford, England. He has participated in numerous group shows held at, among other venues, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. His work from Afghanistan was published by Steidl in 2012 and in 2013 the Imperial War Museum mounted a major exhibition of his work on contemporary conflict.
To find out more about Donovan Wylie go to https://www.donovanwylie.studio/
“The Travellers” Thursday November 16th – Saturday November 25th Monday to Saturday from 9.30am – 5.30pm daily.