The Maze/Long Kesh Prison: Inertia Stage 10

Donovan Wylie Irish

Not on view

For nearly thirty years, the Maze prison played a unique role in the conflict between loyalist paramilitary forces and republicans in Northern Ireland. Built in 1976 to house terrorist prisoners, the prison was the scene of violent protests, hunger strikes, mass escapes, and death. It was emptied in 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement. In 2002, the documentary photographer Donovan Wylie obtained exclusive permission to photograph the entire Maze prison complex. For Wylie, who grew up near the prison during the Troubles, there was a strong association between the architecture and the regime it represented.

The Maze series is organized around different zones and elements of the Maze, which Wylie has titled as follows: Inertias (26 images), Steriles (6 images), Roads (8 images), H Block (2 triptychs), Yards (4 images), Sports Fields (2 images), Cells (24 images), Aerial (1 image), Perimeter (1 image), Entrance (1 image), Communal (1 image), Ablutions (1 image), Hospital Cell (1 image), Visits (1 image), Chapel (1 image).

In 2007, Wylie returned to the Maze during its demolition, which he recorded both photographically and with video. Wylie’s Maze now stands in a complicated relationship to the demolished physical Maze, acting simultaneously as a record, an act of deletion, and a rewriting, while prompting questions about the role of photography in the context of memory and history.

The Maze/Long Kesh Prison: Inertia Stage 10, Donovan Wylie (Irish, born Belfast, 1971), Inkjet pigment print

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.