Visual Arts

Colin Davidson: Silent Testimony

Curated by Kim Mawhinney, National Museums NI



Sep 16, 2023 – Oct 8, 2023



Irish Arts Center 
726 11th Avenue 
Hell's Kitchen, NYC


An exhibition of large-scale portrait paintings by the renowned Belfast-born artist Colin Davidson, Silent Testimony reveals the stories of eighteen people who are connected by their individual experiences of loss through the Troubles. This exploration of common humanity is a powerful response to a conflict that has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on thousands of individuals—the injured and killed, their families, and the wider community.

Artist Talk
Monday, Oct 2 | 6pm

Meet the Curator
Saturday, Sep 16 | 1–5pm
Talks at 1:30pm and 3pm

Exhibition Hours
Monday to Friday: 6pm to 8pm
Saturday and Sunday: 1pm to 5pm 
With exception of Oct 3 (closed all day) and Oct 8 (open 12pm to 3pm) 

To view the exhibition Mon—Fri outside of the scheduled viewing times, please email

Silent Testimony takes place in the Irish Arts Center theater.


Colin Davidson is not only an internationally important artist, he is a humanitarian who understands the power of art and how it can converse with the viewer. Silent Testimony may have been seen by over 100,000 people to date, but it still has the power to stop people in their tracks and demand their attention. Each of the eighteen portraits tells a personal story of loss during the thirty-year period of our history commonly referred to as the Troubles. This exhibition is the most powerful and emotive exhibition I have ever had the privilege to curate, openly bringing people to tears, since its first showing at the Ulster Museum, Belfast, in 2015. 

With Selected Paintings and Drawings, it was important for us to put Silent Testimony in the context of Colin Davidson’s existing artistic practice. While he is known for large-scale portrait paintings of famous people, Colin continues to explore many different themes in his work, some of these can be viewed around the rest of the building. Through looking at the various themes in these other paintings we can see commonalities between the landscape of the city and the landscape of his faces and how the window reflection painting relates to the reflections in each sitter’s eyes. Colin’s work is always evolving from each series to the next, as he constantly experiments with the potential of paint.

—Kim Mawhinney, September 2023      

Watch the October 2, 2023 artist talk, with Kim Mawhinney: 




Presented with generous support from Culture Ireland and Northern Ireland Bureau.



Our Supporters

Irish Arts Center programs are supported, in part, by government, foundation, and corporate partners including Culture Ireland, the agency for the promotion of Irish arts worldwide; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office and the New York City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; Howard Gilman Foundation; Jerome L. Greene Foundation; the Charina Endowment Fund; the Ireland Funds; the Shubert Foundation, Inc.; the Irish Institute of New York; the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, New York; the Charles Lawrence Keith & Clara Miller Foundation; Northern Ireland Bureau; the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Consulate of Ireland in New York; British Council; Morgan Stanley; Tourism Ireland; and thousands of generous donors like you.


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