PERSON OF THE YEAR
Colin Davidson is a contemporary artist, living and working near Belfast, Northern Ireland. Since graduating in 1991 from the University of Ulster with a first-class honours degree, he has structured his practice in themes, and his focus is on painting grand scale portraits, which have won widespread recognition and many international awards.
As well as numerous commissions, Davidson’s portrait sitters have included Brad Pitt, Ed Sheeran, Liam Neeson, Brian Friel, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Christy Moore, Dame Mary Peters, Gary Lightbody, Marketa Irglova, Glen Hansard, Mark Knopfler and Seamus Heaney.
His work is held in many public and corporate collections worldwide, including Queen’s University Belfast, the Ulster Museum (Belfast), Standard Life (London), the National Gallery of Ireland (Dublin), the Standard Chartered Bank of Asia, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (Washington DC) and the National Portrait Gallery, (London).
Davidson’s recent exhibition of portrait paintings, entitled ‘Silent Testimony’, reveals the stories of eighteen people who are connected by their individual experiences of loss through the Troubles - a turbulent 30-year period in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s onwards.
This critically acclaimed work was shown at the Ulster Museum Belfast 2015, before embarking on a tour which included the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris, Dublin Castle and the United Nations NYC. In December 2015 he was commissioned by Time to paint German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, for its ‘Person of the Year’ issue.
In 2016 Colin Davidson was invited to paint an official portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II, which was unveiled later that year by The Queen in London. In 2019 his official portrait of President Bill Clinton was unveiled by the Past President in New York and in 2020 his portrait of Irish President Michael D Higgins was unveiled in Dublin.Colin Davidson was appointed as the new chancellor of Ulster University in June, 2021
He succeeds the actor James Nesbitt, who has served as the university's chancellor for more than a decade.
Mr Davidson said he was "delighted and honored" with the appointment.
The role of chancellor is mostly ceremonial, though they often preside at graduation ceremonies and also act as an ambassador for the university.
Mr Davidson has also painted people bereaved or injured in the Troubles.
An exhibition of his work called Silent Testimony, has been seen in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, France and the USA.
The chairman of the Ulster University Council, Jenny Pyper, said Colin embodies "the creative and contemporary spirit of Ulster University". "We are incredibly fortunate to have someone of such character and commitment to help us to guide and inspire the next generation," she said.
Mr Davidson said that he had "immense pride" in his links with Ulster University.
"Northern Ireland has much to offer the coming generations here at home and in the rest of the world - we punch above our weight in so many ways," he said.
Ulster University has about 25,000 students on four campuses across Northern Ireland - in Belfast, Jordanstown, Coleraine and in Derry.
T C Boyle
Thomas Coraghessan Boyle, also known as T. C. Boyle and T. Coraghessan Boyle was born December 2, 1948. He is an American novelist and short story writer. Since the mid-1970s, he has published 16 novels and more than 100 short stories. He won the PEN/Faulkner award in 1988, for his third novel, World's End, which recounts 300 years in upstate New York.
He was previously a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California
Boyle grew up in Peekskill, New York. His name was originally Thomas John Boyle; he changed his middle name to Coraghessan when he was 17 after an ancestor of his mother. He received a B.A. in English and History from the State University of New York at Potsdam (1968), an M.F.A. (1974) from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, and a Ph.D. (1977) from the University of Iowa.
Many of Boyle's novels and short stories explore the baby boom generation, its appetites, joys, and addictions. His themes, such as the often-misguided efforts of the male hero and the slick appeal of the anti-hero, appear alongside brutal satire, humor, and magical realism.
His fiction also explores the ruthlessness and the unpredictability of nature and the toll human society unwittingly takes on the environment. His novels include World's End (1987, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction); The Road to Wellville (1993); and The Tortilla Curtain 1995, winner of France's Prix Médicis.
Boyle has published eight collections of short stories, including Descent of Man (1979), Greasy Lake (1985), If the River Was Whiskey (1989), and Without a Hero (1994). His short stories frequently appear in the major American magazines, including The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly and Playboy, as well as on the radio show Selected Shorts.[
Boyle is married to Karen Kvashay. They have three children and live in Montecito near Santa Barbara, California. Their home was imperiled in the 2017 Thomas Fire which consumed 440 square miles and over 1,000 structures in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, killing a firefighter in the latter. The fires denuded drought-stricken hillsides of vegetation and torrential rains in January 2018 subsequently dislodged immense boulders and precipitated mudslides which destroyed over one hundred homes and killed almost two dozen of his neighbors. Over 10,000 people were evacuated from Montecito as a result of the sequence of natural disasters. Boyle extensively documented both calamities on his website, and additionally in an article for The New Yorker magazine.[
Boyle has said Gabriel García Márquez is his favorite novelist. He is also a fan of Flannery O'Connor and Robert Coover.
Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill
“The remarkable duo has honed a ravishing repertoire by distilling the melodic essence of traditional tunes. The two can play a reel that sets feet stomping, but they’ve distinguished themselves by bringing chamber music’s intensity and dynamic control to folk tunes created for community celebrations.”
THE IRISH TIMES
Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill are two of the world’s leading artists in traditional Irish music. Their adventurous, soulful interpretations of traditional tunes are recognized the world over for their exquisite musicality and irresistible rhythm. For over two decades, the Irish fiddler and American guitarist have performed at major concert halls and festivals around the globe. The duo also helped found the new Irish supergroup The Gloaming.
The New York Times describes the duo as "simply exquisite. They strip old reels and jigs to their essence, leaving space between the notes for harmonics and whispered blue notes...A Celtic complement to Steve Reich's quartets or Miles Davis's 'Sketches of Spain'."
Fiddler Martin Hayes is considered one of Ireland's most innovative and influential musicians. He was raised in a famous musical family in rural Maghera, Feakle, East County Clare where the music he learned from his late father, P. Joe Hayes, the legendary leader of the long-lived Tulla Ceili Band, profoundly influenced his musical accent and ideas. By age 19 Martin had won six All-Ireland fiddle championships. He is the recipient of numerous awards including Folk Instrumentalist of the Year (BBC), Person of the Year (American Irish Historical Society), Spirit Of Ireland award from the Irish Arts Center of NY, and Ireland's prestigious Musician of the Year (Gradam Ceoil TG4). Hayes has drawn inspiration from sources as diverse as Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and jazz genius Myles Davis and early Music icon Jordi Savall but remains grounded in the music he grew up with in East Clare.
Dennis Cahill was a master guitarist from Chicago born to Irish-speaking parents from the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. His spare, essential accompaniment to Hayes’ fiddle is acknowledged as a major breakthrough for guitar in the Irish tradition. Dennis studied at Chicago's prestigious Music College before becoming an active member of the local music scene. He has performed with such renowned fiddlers as Kevin Burke, Liz Carroll, and Eileen Ivers, as well as many Irish musicians on both sides of the Atlantic. Dennis was also a sought-after producer for musical artists whom he recorded in his own Chicago studio, as well as an accomplished photographer.
Dennis passed on June 20, 2022, never recovering from a fall he took.
Tony Fitzpatrick is a Chicago-based artist best known for his multimedia collages, printmaking, paintings, and drawings.
Fitzpatrick's work are inspired by Chicago street culture, cities he has traveled to, children's books, tattoo designs, and folk art.
Fitzpatrick has authored or illustrated eight books of art and poetry, and, for the last two years has written a column for the Newcity.
Fitzpatrick's art appears in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC.
The Neville Brothers' album Yellow Moon and the Steve Earle's albums El Corazon and The Revolution Starts Now also feature Fitzpatrick's art.
In 1992, Fitzpatrick opened a Chicago-based printmaking studio, Big Cat Press, which exists today as the artist exhibition space Firecats Projects. Before making a living as an artist, Fitzpatrick worked as a radio host, bartender, boxer, construction worker, and film and stage actor.
Curtis Duffy is a world-renowned, Michelin-starred chef, and his Chicago restaurant Ever is his creative obsession.
Duffy has won numerous accolades. Ever was awarded two Michelin stars in the 2022 Guide. His previous restaurant, Grace, earned three Michelin stars for four years in a row, from 2015 to 2018. And before that, Duffy earned two Michelin stars at Avenues at The Peninsula Hotel Chicago.
He has been awarded Forbes Travel Guide’s Five-Star rating, AAA’s Five-Diamond rating, and the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef, Great Lakes Award in 2016.
In the 2016 documentary “For Grace,” filmmakers chronicled the creation of Duffy’s former restaurant and tell the riveting story of how the chef’s turbulent past shaped the person he is today.
Duffy sits on the advisory board of the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, where a $25,000 scholarship in his name is awarded. Duffy’s charitable efforts have included volunteering and serving as chef chair for the Grand Chefs Gala, a fundraiser for the Greater Illinois Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Duffy’s culinary and philanthropic efforts led to his induction into the prestigious Disciples d’Escoffier International.