Verbo-visual rhetoric of Belfast murals

Katarzyna Bazarnik


Belfast murals are one of the landmarks of the city. They constitute a peculiar medium of communications, mixing word and image in a powerful ideological message. They express highly emotional content, and have been addressed to original target audiences of republicans and loyalists. In this respect they have served to reflect and influence sentiments of the communities involved in the conflict, and as a communal memoir commemorating crucial events, thereby contributing to their ethnic identity formations. However, as Northern Ireland has been undergoing the peace process, the murals are becoming one of the city’s tourist attractions. As such, they are encountered by audiences unaware of intricacies and nuances of local history. This paper examines how their complex verbo-visual rhetoric affects this type of audience, and how, in a reciprocal process, political tourism may have an impact on the murals’ style and content.

Słowa kluczowe: Belfast murals, word and image, verbo-visual rhetoric, dark tourism

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