Lancaster University

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Portrait of former LUSU President goes on show

06/28/2007 17:01:24

Emma Rose from LICA, Prof Tony Gatrell of FASS and Tony Pye from Estates at the unveiling of the portrait in Bowland North
Emma Rose from LICA, Prof Tony Gatrell of FASS and Tony Pye from Estates at the unveiling of the portrait in Bowland North

An art student’s portrait of a former President of the Students’ Union at Lancaster has been bought by the University.

The oil painting of Dwayne Branch, who was both Grizedale and LUSU President in 2005/06, now graces a wall in the newly refurbished Bowland North building.

The painting is the work of Shelley Hughes, who completed an MA in Fine Art in 2006 at the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA).

It was spotted by Prof Tony Gatrell, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), during the end-of-year exhibition at the Peter Scott Gallery. He and the Director of Estates Mark Swindlehurst agreed that they should purchase it jointly for the University.

Prof Gatrell said: “I was hugely impressed when I saw it and I think it looks sensational against the white wall. It’s an appropriate painting to have here in this teaching space where students will see it and perhaps aspire to be like Dwayne. He was larger than life, he was a big guy and this portrait conveys his imposing physical presence and his stature as President.”

Dwayne Branch has since returned home to Barbados after gaining a degree in Economics and Politics and serving his term as President.

The current LUSU President, Sooz Palmer, said she was delighted to see his portrait remain on campus.

“I think it is an outstanding gesture by the University to see Dwayne’s portrait up in Bowland North. As President, not only did Dwayne support and guide students, but he worked closely with the University on a range of issues, from campus redevelopments to corporate governance.”

The artist Shelley Hughes said she was pleased that there is a permanent reminder of her time at Lancaster on campus.

"Dwayne was an obvious choice as a sitter. I was exploring visual identity and the perceptions of others in contrast to a person’s perceptions of themselves. He was a friend and willing participant and his strength of character made him a perfect visual subject for me.”

She said her Fine Art MA at Lancaster had provided the launchpad for a professional career as an artist.

Her tutor Emma Rose from LICA said Shelley was an excellent student.

“It’s a good example of art in the environment where everyone passing will see this painting. What we have here is an abstraction in the centre, to underplay his clothes and to flatten it against the background so our attention is drawn to his face.”