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Belfast Photo Festival : Alicja Wróblewska : Reef


Belfast Photo Festival, Northern Ireland’s premier visual arts festival, will take over art galleries and public spaces throughout Belfast this June with a host of timely exhibitions exploring the role of photography in imagining new visions of the future.

Presenting a vibrant online and offline programme of immersive exhibitions, large scale outdoor art works, talks and events, the festival runs from 3 – 30 June 2021.

Taking “Future(s)” as its theme, this year’s festival tackles issues as diverse as climate change, migration, the advancement of technology, government surveillance and the power of protest, to explore how the future is shaped by our actions in the present. Rather than presenting a singular vision of what this future might be or look like, the festival instead offers up a speculative, imaginative glimpse into the myriad possibilities of what might lie ahead.


Alicja Wróblewska : Reef

Tropical forests, plants and trees are just one lung of our planet. We do not realize that the other lung are the oceans.

Ocean waters absorb half of the CO2 emitted by humans. Furthermore, oceanic photosynthesis and the absorption of carbon dioxide contribute to maintaining a moderate temperature in the atmosphere. The oceans help maintain a favorable temperature on the surface of the earth, while the temperature of their waters increases. This and the increasing level of acidification means that underwater ecosystems are facing a threat.

Coral reefs one of the most beautiful and delicate natural phenomena on Earth are very sensitive to changes in the environment. When the temperature rises above a certain point the symbiotic relationship of corals and coexisting creatures becomes disturbed. The bleached corals stop growing, and if their damage is very serious – they decay completely. It is estimated that by 2030 90% of the reefs around the world will be under threat, and by 2050 all will be under threat.

The project “Reef” includes photographs of sculptures made by Wróblewska entirely of recycled disposable plastic (bottles, mugs, straws, cosmetics and food packaging, etc.). These objects represent the vision of future coral reefs. They were, intentionally, created as beautiful and colourful (reflecting colours of natural reefs) but their beauty is just an illusion. Plastic beauty is superficial and temporary with no life in it. Let’s remember that while making daily choices.


Alicja Wróblewska, visual artist, photographer. The main focus of her work is anthropopressure, human impact on the environment, impact on climate change and extinction of oceanic ecosystems. In her works she uses various media such as photography, sculpture, collage. Her background is political science and cultural studies (Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland) and photography at the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava, Czech Republic.


Alicja Wróblewska : Reef

June 3 –June 30, 2021

Belfast Photo Festival

Victoria Square, Belfast


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