Following a visit to the ancient, mystical and multi-denominational city of Jerusalem in January 2014, Colin Davidson painted twelve large scale portraits of individuals who live or work in the city. Within the dozen Jerusalemites are Jews, Muslims, Christians, a politician, a Benedictine monk, a doctor, a peace activist, a hotel worker, a holocaust survivor, a cross section that lives together with conflict, prejudice and separation. Twelve subjects from across the denominations with differing perspectives. From the well-known (the Mayor, a Nobel prize winner, a founder of a peace movement) to the unknown, these dozen portraits tell a story of a city that projects a complexity of meaning like no other.
The enlarged scale of the portraits situated together in the same gallery space heightens the reality that, in spite of their differences, imagined or real, the subjects all inhabit the same space, amplifying the idea of people living side by side in one troubled city. These works demonstrate both Davidson's technical prowess as a portrait artist and his profound sensibility to the human condition. The exhibition opened in Dublin in May 2014 to huge critical acclaim. Sears and Davidson feel this is an appropriate time in which to show the work in London.
The genesis of the project lies with the fact that both Davidson & Sears come from backgrounds heavy with legacy. Davidson has drawn on his experience growing up in Belfast during the Troubles, and London born Sears is the son of a Holocaust survivor. Sears believes that this exhibition, viewed as one piece, delivers a powerful message. Both are interested in a common humanity and felt this theme could be explored through paintings of people living in Jerusalem.
A fully illustrated catalogue of the exhibition will be available with an essay written by eminent human rights lawyer, author and winner of the Baillie Gifford prize for non fiction, Professor Philippe Sands QC.