Victor Sloan - Photoworks


A typical image from the Northern Irish works of Victor Sloan is Walk X View Image from 1985. It is a silver gelatin print, 64 cm. by 50 cm. In it we see dead centre, splitting the image, a uniformed police officer with a peaked cap. He is in profile, staring tight-lipped at the parade, feet apart in a rooted stance, symbol of law-and-order but also unusually for the North, of impartiality, indicated by his dead centre stance. From the left a huge Lambeg drum, strapped to its unseen owner's chest, juts out across the body; but it has been rendered semi-transparent so that the outline shape of the police officer can still be seen. On one level this drum functions as a musical instrument, the rhythmic 'keeper of the beat'. But the unhinged arm, wielder of a timpani-like drum-stick, indicates not only the wardrum call, but also the potential of the drum-stick as a weapon. On another level the drum is like a Jasper Johns target with its concentric circles of black, white, black and white again for the heart of the target. The paradox is that the police officer who has often been seen, in the eyes of Catholics, as the defender of the Protestant tradition, has now become a target for his own loyalist people (the police being a largely Protestant force).

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