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Queen’s University Belfast’s Naughton Gallery celebrates 20th anniversary

The Naughton Gallery is celebrating two decades of enhancing the Queen's experience for staff, students, and the wider community. 

The Lanyon building

Situated at the heart of Queen’s on the first floor of the University’s Lanyon Building, the Naughton Gallery is one of Belfast’s most exciting visual arts spaces, promoting diversity, inclusivity, and artistic excellence.  The gallery presents a rolling programme of original contemporary exhibitions and has exhibited work by both local and internationally renowned artists. It also runs an extensive programme of talks, screenings, and special events. 

Named after its generous benefactors, Martin and Carmel Naughton, the Naughton Gallery was established in 2001 as a means of showcasing the University’s permanent Collection, which comprises gifts, bequests, and purchases since the foundation of Queen's College in 1845. The Gallery programme later developed to feature exhibitions of works on loan, both contemporary and historical, although the permanent Collection remains on display throughout various University sites. A range of media is represented in the Collection – paintings, prints, works on paper, sculpture, furniture, metalwork, and silver – and most notable is the impressive hang of over fifty portraits in the Lanyon Building’s Great Hall. 

The Naughton Gallery is marking the anniversary with NGXX, a large-scale group exhibition celebrating contemporary art today. Featuring a range of local and international artists, NGXX spans a broad variety of processes and practices, with painting, photography, drawing, sculpture, illustration, tattoos, and textiles all represented. None of the artists featured have exhibited their work at the gallery previously. The exhibition opened at a launch event on the evening of Thursday 13 October. 

Caroline Young, Director of Student Plus at Queen’s University Belfast, commented: “The Naughton Gallery truly is an aesthetic, academic, and creative space which enhances the Queen's experience for staff, students, and the wider community. We are very proud to have this fantastic art museum at the heart of our University and to be able to share it with staff and students and the wider community in Northern Ireland.  

“The Gallery’s opening in 2001 was driven by a desire to welcome our local community into the University and to create engagement through promoting the visual arts and making the University’s impressive art collection available to be viewed and enjoyed by others. Two decades on, the Gallery remains as committed as ever to welcoming new audiences and delivering an inclusive and varied programme of exhibitions and events.” 

Commenting on the new exhibition, Ben Crothers, Curator / Collections Manager, said: “Rather than looking to the past, we are celebrating this significant milestone in the Naughton Gallery’s history through a visionary, panoramic survey of an exciting roster of artists at various points in their careers, from established names to emerging talents. NGXX is bursting with captivating content from across the globe, with the NGXX artists exploring a plethora of issues at the forefront of contemporary society, including politics, the environment, race, sexuality, family, and heritage.” 

With free admission and open six days per week, the Naughton Gallery welcomes visitors from around the world, and has been recognised as one of the leading university galleries in the UK and Ireland, winning the Times Higher Education Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts in 2008 and the CUBO Award for Innovation in Student Experience alongside the Queen’s Film Theatre in 2022. 


Find out more on the Naughton Gallery website.