Published Monday, 29 June 2009
Forty years ago, the Catholic street was burned out by loyalists, while the RUC withdrew, leaving the situation to the British Army.
When the army finally entered the area, one soldier described the sight that greeted them as "resembling a scene from WWII".
It was this scene that local man Gerry Collins captured on camera, as firefighters were still dousing smouldering homes.
Collins, a keen amateur photographer, secured the only known visual record of the event.
The Red Barn Gallery's director, Frankie Quinn said: "Forty years after the Bombay St incident I was presented with a box containing 50 stunning images, which had never been seen in public before.
"These images are the only existing record of that fateful night, and they provide a forceful, eloquent and historically significant first-hand view of its impact.
"Gerry has decided to reveal this amazing set of images to coincide with the 40th anniversary of this momentous event in local history. He's bringing the past to the present, for the benefit of the future."
The events are widely viewed as an historic turning point, after which many young Catholic men joined the ranks of the provisional IRA.
"We hope that the exhibition will create the conditions for discussion about the consequences of the failure of dialogue and its long term effects on all of us", Frankie Quinn said.
"Gerry's incredible images have brought back some very sad, and some happy memories for people who were there, and have provided those of us who weren't with a very powerful sense of the time. They are a compelling testimony to the impact of intolerance", he added.
Visitors' comments have remarked on "an epitaph to hatred" and to a street "murdered by hatred", as well as expressing "a pride in survival" and the hope that such devastating scenes will "never be seen again".
Bombay St. - Taken from the Ashes is on show at the Red Barn Gallery, 43b Rosemary Street, Belfast until 26 July 2009. After its Red Barn premiere, the exhibition goes on to the West Belfast Festival.
Opening hours are Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm, with late night opening until 9pm on Thursdays. Entrance is free.
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