Wee Muckers – Youth of Belfast
02 Feb, 2022
The idea was to show that these two communities in Belfast who seem to have irreconcilable differences, are more similar than they’d both like to admit. While they still stick to their own symbols of their identity and tradition, they wear the same clothes, have the same haircuts, listen to the same music, drink the same beer, take the same drugs and often the same worries such as violence, unemployment, social discrimination and therefore, lack of prospects. For myself the work is deeply linked to questions that Belfast-born writer Paul McVeigh speaks out: „ Are you born or do you become your nationality? Is it something from which you can’t escape and, if so, is nationality a kind of prison?“It’ll be wonderful to continue this work with the teenagers from these communitites for some more years.
»If I had been born at the top of my street, behind the corrugated-iron border, I would have been British. Incredible to think. My whole idea of myself, the attachments made to a culture, heritage, religion, nationalism and politics are all an accident of birth. I was one street away from being born my ‘enemy’«. Paul McVeigh, Belfast-born writer. Photographer Toby Binder has been documenting the daily life of teenagers in British working-class communities for more than a decade. After the Brexit referendum he focussed his work on Belfast in Northern Ireland. There is a serious concern that Brexit will threaten the Peace Agreement of 1998 that ended the armed conflict between Protestant Unionists and Catholic Nationalists who live in homogeneous neighborhoods that are divided by walls till today.