'Not all heroes wear capes' says local artist about new John Hume painting

A former pupil at St Mary’s Grammar School in Magherafelt has been shortlisted for Durham University’s annual Student Art Prize 2021, with a contemporary portrait of the late John Hume.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 9:44 am
Updated Thursday, 6th May 2021, 9:59 am

Shoun Obana from Randalstown, painted the piece in response to the competition’s theme of ‘Heroism’.

The large oil painting on wood, measuring 900x1300mm, was inspired by a photo of Hume taken on the streets of Derry on April 21 1969, during the civil rights demonstrations.

In the photo, riot police can be seen moving in to break up a group of demonstrators while Hume is seen stepping into their path.

Arttist Shoun Obana.

During the research for the painting, Shoun spoke with some of Hume’s colleagues at the John and Pat Hume Foundation about some of Hume’s values and what might be going through his head in the photo. These conversations, along with insights from the book ‘In His Own Words’ by Seán Farren, inspired a series of words and statements which Shoun has layered through the background of his piece.

Shoun, who is currently doing postgraduate study for a Masters in the Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects at Durham, says: “It is my hope that the text, along with the removal of some of the photo’s context, might shine light on the human side to Hume’s extraordinary actions and speak to the idea that not all heroes wear capes.

“In highlighting Hume’s humanity, I aim to inspire the viewer to be courageous, show leadership and advocate peace, the things that make us think of Hume as a hero.”

Support Shoun by following the link and placing your vote for the “People’s Vote” in the competition:https://stories.durham.ac.uk/studentartprize2021/

Shoun's John Hume portrait.

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