This will be a fascinating conversation with the renowned artist and peace campaigner, Colin Davidson, about his views on art, the Silent Testimony exhibition and his work with victims and survivors. The talk will be moderated by the leading BBC journalist William Crawley and is organised in association with The John & Pat Hume Foundation and Ulster University.
Colin Davidson is a contemporary artist, living and working near Belfast. Since graduating in 1991 from the University of Ulster with a first-class honours degree, he has structured his practice in themes, and since 2010 his focus has been on painting grand scale portraits, which have won widespread recognition and many international awards.
As well as numerous commissions, Davidson’s portrait sitters have included Brad Pitt, Ed Sheeran, Liam Neeson, Brian Friel, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Christy Moore, Dame Mary Peters, Gary Lightbody, Marketa Irglova, Glen Hansard, Mark Knopfler and Seamus Heaney. His work is held in many public and corporate collections worldwide, including Queen’s University Belfast, the Ulster Museum (Belfast), Standard Life (London), the National Gallery of Ireland (Dublin), the Standard Chartered Bank of Asia, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (Washington DC) and the National Portrait Gallery, (London).
Davidson’s recent exhibition of portrait paintings, entitled ‘Silent Testimony’, reveals the stories of eighteen people who are connected by their individual experiences of loss through the Troubles – a turbulent 30-year period in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s onwards. This critically acclaimed body of work was on show at the Ulster Museum Belfast during 2015, before embarking on a tour which included the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris, Dublin Castle and the United Nations NYC.
In December 2015 he was commissioned by TIME Magazine to paint the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, for the cover of its ‘Person of the Year’ issue. In 2016 Colin Davidson was invited to paint an official portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II, which was unveiled later that year by The Queen in London. In 2019 his official portrait of President Bill Clinton was unveiled by the Past President in New York and in 2020 his portrait of Irish President Michael D Higgins was unveiled in Dublin. In 2018, Colin was commissioned by Tourism NI to work on the design and branding for the ‘Embrace a Giant Spirit’ campaign.
He was appointed Chancellor of Ulster University in June 2021.
William Crawley is a BBC presenter and journalist. He hosts Talkback weekdays on BBC Radio Ulster and Sunday on BBC Radio 4. He has written and presented radio and television programmes on many subjects, from history and science to religion and literature.
Wed 22nd March