Colin Davidson - Silent Testimony

22 April 2024 to 23 February 2025 National Portrait Gallery

A collage of twenty painted portraits arranged in a grid, featuring a diverse range of individuals of varying ages, genders, and expressions. The artistic style focuses on textured brushstrokes and detailed facial features, offering a mixture of somber and neutral tones.

Eighteen portrait paintings each of which portrays the personal experience of loss during the Troubles

Eighteen large-scale portraits, painted by the Belfast-born artist, Colin Davidson, are set to be displayed at the National Portrait Gallery between 22 April 2024 and 23 February 2025. First displayed at the Ulster Museum in Belfast and most recently exhibited at Stormont’s Parliament Buildings and the Irish Arts Center in New York, the free display, titled Silent Testimony, will tell the stories of individuals whose lives were impacted, and continue to be affected by the Troubles, a 30-year period of conflict in Northern Ireland.

Painted between 2014 and 2015, the portraits are connected by each sitter’s shared experience of personal loss. From friends and family members injured and killed to those who witnessed extreme violence, the portraits speak to the impact of conflict on individuals, as well as wider communities in Northern Ireland and beyond.

“It is a true privilege to see ‘Silent Testimony’ installed at the National Portrait Gallery. First shown in Belfast in 2015, this exhibition is, not only my personal response to the lived legacy of the Troubles, but a comment on the fall-out of all conflict. These eighteen people represent the many thousands who daily pay the price for everyone else’s peace. ‘Silent Testimony’ is not about the past – it is about right now – what is left behind. I continue to be indebted to my eighteen sitters and their families for entrusting me with their stories. My continued thanks to WAVE Trauma and National Museums NI. My sincere appreciation also goes to Dr. Alison Smith and all those at the National Portrait Gallery who have made this display possible.”
Colin Davidson

The sitters are:

John Gallagher, Flo O’Riordan, Mo Norton, Thomas O’Brien, Anna Cachart, Maureen Reid, Damien McNally, Walter Simons, Johnnie Proctor, Margaret Yeaman, Virtue Dixon, Jeff Smith, Paul Reilly, Mary Finnis, Jean Caldwell, Fiona Kelly, Emma Anthony, Stuart McCausland.

This display at the National Portrait Gallery was made possible with the assistance of WAVE Trauma Centre Belfast and National Museums NI.

Further Information: Colin Davidson: Silent Testimony

Image Left - right, top Anna Cachart, Damien McNally, Emma Anthony, Fiona Kelly, Flo O’Riordan, Jean Caldwell Middle - Jeff Smith, John Gallagher, Johnnie Proctor, Margaret Yeaman, Mary Finnis, Maureen Reid Bottom - Mo Norton, Paul Reilly, Stuart McCauslan, Thomas O’Brien, Virtue Dixon, Walter Simons