Victor Sloan
Fine Art Photographer and Lens-Based Artist From Northern Ireland.


Victor Sloan, MBE RUA FRPS (b.1945)

Regarded as one of Northern Ireland's greatest photographers of the last 25 years, Victor Sloan addresses a range of social, religious and political issues, although he is best known for his photography of the Northern Irish conflict, in particular his series of images: Walls (1989); The Birches (1988); Drumming (1986) - which received wide critical acclaim when it was shown in Arts Council of Northern Ireland Gallery in Belfast - and The Walk, the Platform and the Field (1985). An undisputed master of photographic technique, his powerful images, occupy a tense middleground between figuration and abstraction, and have been produced as installations, screen prints and etchings. He has exhibited widely throughout Europe, North America, South America and Asia, and his work is to be found in numerous private and public collections worldwide. He was awarded an MBE in 2002. He was elected an academician of the Royal Ulster Academy in 1999, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2002, and a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 2003. See also: Is Photography Art?

Important Works

Birthday Party, Vietnamese Boat People,
Burnside, Craigavon. One of a series
of images exploring the new town of Craigavon, built mid-way between
the towns of Portadown and Lurgan
in County Armagh.

Vietnamese Boat People, Moyrafferty Community Centre. A group of
Vietnamese Boat people arriving in
Craigavon, County Armagh.

For a biography of America's
greatest landscape photographer
see: Ansel Adams (1902-84)


Born in Dungannon, County Tyrone, Sloan studied fine art painting at Belfast College of Art (1964-68) and Leeds College of Art, England (1968-69). He exhibited as a painter during the 1970s, whilst at the same time working with photography, multimedia, performance, film and video. However, it was not until the early 1980s that his photoworks began to be exhibited. Since then he has developed a unique style: drawing, painting, marking, scoring and altering both the photographic negative, and the print, using paints, dyes, inks and toners. His photoworks were first seen in exhibitions such as the ‘Irish Exhibiton of Living Art’, ‘Independent Artists’, ‘e v+ a’, and Divisions, Crossroads, Turns of Mind: Some New Irish Art, curated by the New York based writer Lucy R. Lippard, which toured USA, Canada, Finland and Ireland (1985-86). More recently Sloan has changed and transferred his means of working into digital photography, employing more subtle techniques, as in the ‘Luxus’ series, shown at the Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown (2007).



Over the past 25 years, Sloan has exhibited widely throughout the world, with solo and group exhibitions in Ireland, Europe, North and South America and Asia. Since 2004, these have included: A Shout in the Street: Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art, curated by Declan McGonagle, the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast (2008); Drawing a Line: A Contemporary Survey of Northern Irish Art, Museum of the Heilongjiang Daily, China, (2008); Walk, Diversions Festival, Meeting House Square, Gallery of Photography, Dublin (2007); Diverse Realities, Martha Street Studio Gallery, Winnipeg, Canada (2007); Things We May Have Missed, Golden Thread Gallery, Switch Room, Belfast (2007); Walk, Cine Babylon, Berlin, Germany, (Rencontres Internationales) (2007); Luxus, Millinium Court Arts Centre, Portadown (solo) (2007); Walk, Theatre Paris-Villette, Paris, France, (2006); Icons of the North: Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art, Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Co. Meath (2006); Northern Propositions: Art of the Troubles, An Gaileraí, Falcarragh, Donegal (2006); Icons of the North: Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art: Socio - Political Art from 1969 – 1994, Golden Thread Gallery Belfast (2006); Victor Sloan: Walk, curated by Abrie Fourie, Outlet Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa (solo) (2006); Print Makers 2006: North, South, East and West, Gordon Gallery Derry, and Naughton Gallery at Queens (2006); Beyond the Troubles: Kunst aus Irland, Galerie Raum 5, Berlin, Germany (2005); Seeing Orange, Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown (2005);Victor Sloan: Walk, Toskanische Saulenhalle, Augsburg, Germany, (solo) (2004), to name but a few.

In 2001, the Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast staged a major retrospective of his work, Victor Sloan: Selected Works 1980-2000, curated by Hugh Mulholland. In 2008, History, Locality, Allegiance, curated by Peter Richards at the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, brought together a comprehensive selection of his past works, with a particular focus on video works, which included Walk (2004), Drumcree (2001), and The Little Rascals, (1998). Sloan's artworks are held by many public and private collections, including the Imperial War Museum, London; the National Self-Portrait Collection, University of Limerick; British Telecommunications: the Millennium New Media Collection; the Ulster Museum, Belfast; Dublin City University; the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the National Media Museum, Bradford.

In 1988, Sloan won the Academy's Conor Prize. In 1995 and 2008, he won the Gold Medal. He works in Portadown, County Armagh.

Sloan At the Lewis Glucksman (2008-9)

Victor Sloan also showed at the exhibition - 'An Eye for an Eye' (Nov 2008 - March 2009) at the Lewis Glucksman Gallery at UCC. Curated by Professor Dermot Keogh and Ruth Osborne, it features works by Jack Yeats, Sir John Lavery, William Orpen, Sean Keating, Paul Henry, Robert Ballagh, Dermot Seymour, Victor Sloan, Rita Duffy and Paul Graham, alongside archive materials from The Imperial War Museum, UTV, The Linen Hall Library and Gael Linn. The exhibition illustrates the varied and contradictory ways in which visual images and artifacts represented the conflict in Ireland throughout the 20th century.

For other important 20th century camera artists, see: Cecil Beaton (1904-80), Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002), Diane Arbus (1923-71), Norman Parkinson (1913-90), Richard Avedon (1923-2004), David Bailey (b.1938), Annie Leibovitz (b.1949), Steve McCurry (b.1950), Cindy Sherman (b.1954) and Andreas Gursky (b.1955).

More Information

• For biographies of other painters and sculptors from Ireland, see: Irish Artists.
• For more about lens-based artists like Victor Sloan, see: Irish Art Guide.
• For more about contemporary culture, see: Homepage.

© All rights reserved.