Marie-Thérèse Davis

Visual Arts

Marie-Thérèse Davis was born in Belfast now residing in Bangor, Co.Down. She was educated at Queen’s University, Belfast (B.A.Hons; M.Ed); St Mary’s University College, Belfast (PGCE); Oxford Brooke’s (Dip. A&D). For ten years she was a member of Queen Street Studios, Belfast from 1992-2002, and has exhibited widely in the U.K, Ireland and Europe as well as participating in group shows in the USA.

“I grew up in Belfast during the Troubles. I lived on the Cavehill Road and traveled across the city to attend Queen’s University. Like many of my contemporaries, I experienced the daily trials of life at that time; the bomb scares, the tight security (especially getting searched going through the door of every shop in the city centre), the army road blocks, the explosions and devastation, the drive-by shootings and punishment beatings solemnly announced each night on the news. Fortunately, my own immediate family at that time remained physically unscathed but mentally, it affected every second of our days.

We took the stress and inconvenience for granted. Then I went to live in Oxford in 1987. I remember the embarrassment of opening my bag to be searched the first time I went shopping. My friends looked horrified, what was I doing? I experienced the freedom of being able to wander around not having to worry about bomb scares etc, and a feeling of life in a peaceful environment.

In the safety of this new world, I found myself reflecting on my home city and began to explore my own observations on life during the troubles. I felt so frustrated and helpless. My countrymen were killing and maiming each other whilst the majority of the populace in Britain was unconcerned about our tiny province and the nature of the civil war raging on our streets.

My Belfast Series (included in the Troubles Archive) was a reaction to and expression of this frustration. It focuses on The Women of Belfast (as first portrayed by sculptor F.E.McWilliam). Faceless individuals, caught up in the middle of this war, watching fathers, husbands, brothers and sons being seduced into the fighting. Left to pick up the pieces (sometimes literally) of their loved ones, to try to re-build shattered lives, emotionally drained and permanently scarred by the violence which penetrated the very souls of our countrymen and women. Paralyzed by fear and/or circumstances, unable to speak out against the atrocities, we carried on, living life as normal.

I found my voice through painting.”