John Hume's family 'delighted' with new painting of 'hard-working' former Derry MP
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An official portrait of John Hume was unveiled in Westminster on Monday, following a commission from the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art.
Painted by the critically acclaimed Northern Irish artist Colin Davidson, the portrait of the former MP for Foyle will hang in Portcullis House, and marks the contribution the Nobel Peace Prize winner made during his 22 years as a Westminster MP.
John Hume (Jnr), said: “Colin Davidson is one of the finest artists in Ireland today, so we are really looking forward to seeing this painting for the first time.
"Claire Hanna MP moved heaven and earth to encourage the House of Commons to commission this work and for that we are very grateful. Dad spent 20 years in the House of Commons working hard for the people of Derry.
"We are delighted that there will now be a permanent reminder of this work on display.”
Dr Séan Farren, Chair of the John and Pat Hume Foundation said: “It is wonderful that Colin Davidson was commissioned by the House of Commons - not only because he is a local and internationally acclaimed artist - but also because Colin, through his work with WAVE, is a campaigner for victims and survivors.
"His Silent Testimony exhibition features 18 large-scale portraits, capturing the pain and hurt of individuals who suffered loss during the Troubles. Like John and Pat Hume he is a courageous voice for peace and reconciliation.”
Painted over a number of weeks at Davidson’s studio in Northern Ireland, the new artwork is based on sketches the artist made during sittings with Hume in 2016 – four years before he died.
First elected to the Foyle constituency in 1983, John Hume was a leading figure in the civil rights movement. He was leader of the SDLP from 1979 to 2001 and one of the key architects of the peace process. In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace alongside David Trimble.
Supported by his wife Pat, Hume’s work won him support from across the political spectrum both at home and abroad.
Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP said: “John Hume was one of the true giants of Northern Irish politics. An advocate for democracy across these islands and beyond, it was important for the House to ensure that Hume was finally represented in the Collection..”
Colin Davidson said: “John meant so much to so many people across these islands. We would not have peace in this part of the world without him, so it is appropriate that this new portrait of John Hume will hang in Westminster now for people to visit and hopefully draw inspiration from. I am grateful to both the Committee - and of course the Hume family - for the privilege.”
The portrait installation is expected to complete early next year. The public can view the work when attending Select Committee meetings, as well as during special tour events which are scheduled at various periods throughout the year.