Poignant art exhibition displayed at Stormont for peace agreement anniversary

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A poignant art exhibition is among the programme of events at Stormont to mark the 25th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

Silent Testimony, by artist Colin Davidson, features 18 large-scale portraits – each of which portrays the personal experience of individuals who suffered loss during the Troubles.

He worked with the victims group Wave on the portraits, which were first displayed at the Ulster Museum in 2015 and have toured extensively.

It is set to go on display at Parliament Buildings in April.

Assembly Speaker Alex Maskey said it is “vitally important” to remember the victims of the Troubles as the anniversary of the peace accord is marked.

He said the full programme of events will run from March to July, and includes a range of public events and activities.

“It is important that this is not just an occasion for politicians to talk to themselves,” he said.

“I am therefore very pleased that the Assembly’s programme of events, which has commenced this week, offers increased opportunities for the public to visit Parliament Buildings, which has been the setting for many of our significant political moments over these 25 years.”

Mr Maskey said with the display of Silent Testimony, it is important to remember the victims of Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

“One of the key events at Parliament Buildings will be Colin Davidson’s Silent Testimony exhibition, which will run throughout April,” he said.

“It is vitally important that as we approach this significant milestone, these anniversary events should remember victims who have often felt left behind by our process.

“It is also fitting that the home of the Assembly, Parliament Buildings, should be a platform to showcase some of our best local talent, and I want to thank Colin and National Museums NI for their initiative and co operation in bringing the exhibition to Parliament Buildings.”

He added: “While there have undoubtedly been many difficulties and frustrations over the years, this 25th anniversary is an opportunity for us to reflect on what has been achieved, particularly the building of a predominantly peaceful society.

“It is also the time for us to focus on the work that remains to be done, which will undoubtedly be challenging but is necessary to build a prosperous and shared future for all of us.”

Mr Davidson said it was a privilege for the exhibition to be shown at Parliament Buildings.

“In many ways, this body of work represents my response to the Good Friday Agreement and my desire to acknowledge the massive section of our community daily living with their own stories of loss,” he said.

“It is my hope that these 18 portrait paintings shine a light on the ongoing legacy of grief endured by victims and survivors of the conflict years.

“I would like to thank the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, National Museums NI and Wave Trauma Centre for their support in enabling the public to view Silent Testimony in this iconic location during this anniversary period.”

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