Colin Davidson: Silent Testimony

22 Apr 2024 – 23 Feb 2025

Regular hours

10:30 – 18:00
10:30 – 18:00
10:30 – 18:00
10:30 – 21:00
10:30 – 21:00
10:30 – 18:00

Free admission

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Featuring eighteen large-scale portraits, Silent Testimony is a display by Belfast-born artist Colin Davidson.


Connected by the theme of loss, the display reveals – through portraiture – the personal stories and experiences of those 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 and speak to the ongoing impact of conflict on individuals, as well as wider communities in Northern Ireland and beyond.

Colin Davidson: Silent Testimony is on display in Room 14, Floor 3.

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

About the artist: 

Colin Davidson received an Art and Design degree from the University of Ulster (1987-91) and an Honorary Degree in Art from Queen's University (2016). His many portrait sitters have included HM The Late Queen Elizabeth II, President Bill Clinton, Brad Pitt and Ed Sheeran. He has participated in the Gallery’s acclaimed painting competition – now named the Herbert Smith Freehills Portrait Award – three times, winning the Visitor's Choice Award in 2012. In 2021, he was installed as Chancellor of Ulster University. 

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

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Colin Davidson


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