Oliver Sears Gallery is pleased to announce the launch of ‘Jerusalem’, an exhibition of twelve new paintings by Belfast artist, Colin Davidson.

Continuing the theme of large scale portraits, Davidson turns his attention to the ancient, mystical and multi-denominational city of Jerusalem. Twelve individuals who live or work in the city have been recorded in paint. They come from different backgrounds, cultures and traditions. Some are well known, others not. Within the dozen Jerusalemites are Jews, Muslims, Christians, a politician, a monk, a doctor, a peace activist, a hotel worker, a holocaust survivor, a cross-section that lives together with conflict, prejudice and separation.

Colin has drawn on his experience growing up in Belfast during the Troubles to identify the tension that exists in every Jerusalem resident and capture the city’s unique atmosphere through the ciphers that are his subjects. The amplified 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. No other city projects the complexity of meaning like Jerusalem. In contemporary, human terms, Jerusalem, the exhibition aims to reflect the complexity and contradiction of Jerusalem, the city.

Colin Davidson won the BP Portrait Visitor’s Choice Award in 2012 for a portrait of the poet, Michael Longley. He presented the Queen with five portraits at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast the same year and painted, what turned out to be, the last portrait of Seamus Heaney. He has also painted Sir Kenneth Branagh, Mark Knopfler, Glen Hansard, Brian Friel, Simon Callow among many others. His works hang in the National Gallery of Ireland, the Ulster Museum and the Lyric Theatre Belfast as well as many other public and private collections. Colin is currently the president of the Royal Ulster Academy. He lives and works in Bangor, Co. Down.

A fully illustrated catalogue of the exhibition will be available with an essay written by eminent human rights lawyer, Professor Philippe Sands QC.