Exhibition of 18 portraits focuses on those affected by Troubles

Colin Davidson’s ‘Silent Testimony’ work captures grief of victims who lost loved ones

Thomas O’Brien: His  brother John (23), sister-in-law Anna (22), and two nieces, Jacqueline (17 months) and Anne Marie (5 months) were killed when a no-warning car-bomb exploded on Parnell Street in Dublin.

Thomas O’Brien: His brother John (23), sister-in-law Anna (22), and two nieces, Jacqueline (17 months) and Anne Marie (5 months) were killed when a no-warning car-bomb exploded on Parnell Street in Dublin.

 

An exhibition of 18 portraits of people whose lives were affected by the Troubles opens today in Dublin Castle for a three-month run.

The “Silent Testimony” exhibition by artist Colin Davidson, which has been likened to The Stations of the Cross, attracted the biggest-ever crowd to an exhibition at the Ulster Museum when it was on display in Belfast.

The paintings capture the grief and sorrow of those who were injured, or lost relatives and friends, often decades ago. “Their stories spilt out, often in horrific, graphic detail,” said Davidson.

The sitters were all happy with his portraits, he said: “They were glad to be acknowledged – thankful their stories were not forgotten. Their families were also very moved.”

One of the paintings is that of Virtue Dixon, whose daughter Ruth died aged 24 years old in the The Droppin’ Well pub in Ballykelly, Co Derry, on December 6th, 1982.

An Irish National Liberation Army bomb exploded as the club’s DJ was playing Happy Birthday for the 24-year-old woman, one of 16 people killed that night.

The Dublin exhibition will run from today until September 8th. Former Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan has described the exhibition as “a must see”.

Paying tribute to the quality of the exhibition, journalist and art expert, Eamonn Mallie has likened viewing the exhibition as “doing the Stations of the Cross”.

Commenting on the latest Stormont talks, Davidson said ordinary people are the ones who “end up having to pick up the pieces for themselves” after conflict, “in every sense paying the price for our peace”, he said.