Northern Ireland Civil Service Art Collection
The Northern Ireland Civil Service Art Collection came into being in 1963 when the then Prime Minister, Captain Terence O’Neill, proposed works of art to brighten up government offices.
The purpose of the collection is to decorate government offices and public access areas of Northern Ireland government buildings. The collection now has over 1,800 works, valued in 2020 at over £2.5million. At any one time over 1,000 pieces are on loan, mostly in the Civil Service office estate.
A selection of the art works can be viewed at Northern Ireland Civil Service art collection
Since 1997, the Department of Finance has worked in co-operation with the Office of Public Works (OPW) in the Republic of Ireland in exhibiting art works from public buildings managed by both Departments. These exhibitions have comprised artworks taken from the two collections based on particular themes each year, such as paper works and emerging art. The exhibitions provide an opportunity for the wider public to view art works, which normally decorate public buildings. Over the years, they have toured extensively throughout Ireland.
This year's joint OPW/NICS Art Exhibition, Person/Presence/Perception travelled to the Burnavon in Cookstown (September 2022) and the Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise (Oct – Nov 2022) before Kilmallock Library, Co. Limerick where it will run until mid-March 2023. It will then travel to the Main Guard, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary from mid-March to end April 2023, and then to the Armagh County Museum in May where it will close mid-June 2023.
The focus of this year’s exhibition is people - the many ways they are represented in artworks and the responses elicited by the viewer. The 41 pieces by 40 artists reflect humanity using a variety of media including paintings, photographs, prints and sculpture. The artworks show the artists’ vision of a diverse range of people and creates a portfolio of humanity, its presence and perceptions.
To view the catalogue for Person/Presence/Perception and catalogues from previous years visit Heritage Services: State Art Collection.