Posted on May 13, 2024

Thus Far

Northern Ireland exhibition Thus Far Curator Rian Kerrane and Assistant Curator Rebecca Vaughan are excited to share a schedule of social sculptures and performative actions during the Artnauts upcoming exhibition and visit to Derry and Belfast. The curatorial theme Thus Far refers to this moment in time, and all that has led up to the present. It is a moment for reflection, and the present point in a story, or the pause between one breath and the next. It is the time for consideration of a future that starts now.

The social sculptures and performative actions embrace Founder Dr. George Rivera’s practice of Beuysian Social Sculpture. Dr. Rivera has engaged in the practice of social sculpture in each of the 28 years of Artnaut exhibitions. Reflecting the Artnauts’ mission of community, connection and engagement, the events are designed to generate discussion about the common experiences that we share with our hosts in Northern Ireland. In addition, all projects are intended to be lightweight, easily transported with materials sourced in our host country, therefore making them site-responsive and personal.

Thus Far exhibitions schedule:


UV Arts

Exhibition open May 22-June 2, 2024

Opening Reception Friday May 31 & Saturday June 1  


Platform Arts Belfast

Exhibition open June 5 – June 22, 2024

Opening Reception Thursday June 6

Community Discussion: “Providing A Voice” Friday June 7

Contact for any further information:

Curator Rian Kerrane  – +1 720-891-0887 Assistant Curator Rebecca Vaughan – +1 720-941-6141


Coordinating events include Social Sculptures:  For 28 years, the Artnauts have practiced what artist
Joseph Beuys calls Social Sculptures, which are performative engagements with the host communities.
The Artnauts will perform several actions in Northern Ireland: George Rivera’s “2 Stickers Social
Sculpture”, Rian Kerrane’s “Pointing the Finger” and “Hitch Hiking Across the Border”, Rebecca
Vaughan’s “The Honeyguide”, and Melissa Furness’ “Breaking Bread”. Please check each venue’s
listings for times and locations. 

“Breaking Bread”

A workshop involving the gathering of slices of different types of bread from Derry and Belfast local factory bakeries and bringing people together to make bread prints, with each slice a symbol of self as stemming from one place in the world, no matter the historical or spiritual differences that they may take away with them. Once the bread is blackened, I will invite the community to patch up a portion of an eroded wall or communal structure, using the blackened bread as “bricks” and peanut butter as mortar to symbolize the Artnauts, who started in the U.S. where peanut butter became its current form.


1:00pm Saturday June 1 – UV Arts, The Playhouse, 5-7 Artillery St, Derry/Londonderry

12 Noon Friday, June 7, 2024 – Platform Arts, Connswater Shopping Centre, 17-18 Bloomfield Ave, Belfast in conjunction with Providing a Voice Community Discussion.

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“Hitch Hiking Across the Border” a site-specific artwork, Derry/Donegal, Ireland

Hitch Hiking Across the Border recreates the border crossing on the country roads at the periphery of Derry as they cross into Donegal, using a symbol of the proffered thumb seeking a lift. This image has many cultural nuances, such as the thumbs up emoji and links to the branding iron project which was cast in a previous project. Rian will stencil markers along the route of this personal journey that recurred many times between 1987 and 1991. At this time the political border existed as a physical presence, military checkpoints. Today this border is less visually perceived, and still innately felt.


Exit train station on the Dungiven Road,

Walk across the Foyle Bridge

Artist will stand with thumb out on the Foyle Road (A0040) (public can gather here to observe artist stencil)

Letterkenny Road (B0194) To Newtown Cummingham

Artist will walk through Newtown Cummingham (public can gather here to observe artist stencil)

Along the on the N13, through Manorcunningham

Approach Letterkenny, take Port Road at the Dry Arch Roundabout

and then either the Glenties or High Road to the Heights.

Date: 11:00am – 1:00pm, Friday 31st May, 2024

5-10 are welcome to congregate at the 2 designated locations to observe the site-specific


“Pointing the Finger” a site-specific artwork, Belfast, Northern Ireland

While staging a worktable in the Connswater Shopping Center, Rian will entice passersby to cast a copy of their finger in plaster to contribute to a wall of pointing fingers to be displayed in the window of Platform Arts Gallery. Participants will also take a cast finger home as a souvenir and thank you. 

Finger-pointing icons and emojis proliferate on social media platforms, remind us of iconic military recruitment posters stating, “Need You” and in this context at this location address the challenging situation that occurs between neighbors in blaming and negating a sense of shared responsibility.  Otherizing or making a person or group of people seem different has long been a human practice and critical fault. This humorous and individualized inclusion of everyone’s finger into a collective expression of BLAME can remind us to take personal ownership and responsibility for negative actions and thoughts, spot lighting our inherent weakness as a species.


12:00pm -2:00pm Thursday June 6 _ Platform Arts, Connswater Shopping Centre, Belfast

12 Noon Friday, June 7, 2024 – Platform Arts, Connswater Shopping Centre, 17-18 Bloomfield Ave, Belfast in conjunction with Providing a Voice Community Discussion.

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“2 Stickers Social Sculpture”

“Our exhibitions begin with an exhibition on a theme relevant to our country and theirs to initiate discussion of the relevance of the theme to their country. Thereafter, what we do is completely different from other exhibitions because we create social sculptures through actions with  people to allow us to dialogue about how we can create a  better world for all of us. 

Our social sculpture actions are created with the intent to  create social transformation that heals others as they deal  with inhumanity that erodes our common well-being. All
of us can create art about social transformation, but not all of us can create social sculptures (actions) that extend beyond the white cube to initiate discussion about the consequences of the inhumanity that exists and the importance of healing from that wound.

Thus, the task of the ARTNAUTS is a difficult one for those of us trained in the mainstream artworld. Though  we may miss our mark sometimes, we try to make art with related ACTIONS that matter. Every little act helps,  and trying itself is an act.” -Dr. George Rivera

Dates and locations: stickers will be distributed and adhered to locations in both Derry and Belfast, with the two stickers together, one on top of the other. Guests attending all Artanut openings will be given stickers to paste wherever they wish. 


“The Honeyguide”

Backstrap Loom; a 2-Hour Social Sculpture at the Beltany Stone Circle with Artnaut artist Rebecca Vaughan

The tradition of the back strap loom involves the weaver affixing themselves to a solid structure. For this social sculpture, artist Rebecca Vaughan will host an event in which a group of weavers attach themselves to the stones of the Beltany Stone Circle, thus connecting with the Derry-region community, and the ancient history of Northern Ireland. 

Titled “The Honeyguide,” this project refers to a species of bird known as a brood parasite, which leaves its eggs in other bird species nests to incubate and raise the hatchlings. Artist Rebecca Vaughan, being adopted and wanting to find her biological family, sees herself as the egg deposited in another family’s nest. “Affixing” herself to iconic landmarks, to another culture, to a place or person is a chance to locate herself.

Participants will learn how to use a backstrap loom and create their own woven art. Using the looms handmade by Rebecca, the group will engage in the metaphorical act of finding a home or ancestral connection. Limited to 12 participants, however all are welcome to attend. 


6:00pm – 7:00pm, Saturday 1st June 2024 Beltany Stone Circle Raphoe, Donegal

12:00pm Friday, June 7, 2024 – Platform Arts, Connswater Shopping Centre, 17-18 Bloomfield Ave, Belfast in conjunction with Providing a Voice Community Discussion.