University unveils Gerard Burns' portrait of Chancellor Annie Lennox

02 July 2019

University unveils Gerard Burns

Scottish artist Gerard Burns, Chancellor Dr Annie Lennox and Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE, Vice-Chancellor of GCU

A stunning portrait of Glasgow Caledonian University Chancellor Dr Annie Lennox OBE, commissioned by the University and painted by Scottish artist Gerard Burns, has been unveiled.

The oil painting of the Royal Academician, singer songwriter, highly-respected social activist and philanthropist, wearing the Chancellor’s robes, was unveiled at the University by the artist with a group of staff, students and specially invited guests.

The University’s motto, For the Common Weal, is depicted across the top of the portrait in gold lettering in Latin, Gaelic and Scots.

Seeing her portrait for the first time, Chancellor Lennox said: “As Chancellor of GCU, I’m honoured to be included in the tradition of having my portrait painted.  Scots artist Gerard Burns has done a stalwart job and I’m delighted to be back in Glasgow to graduate the amazing students, who’ve all worked so hard to reach their goals.”

Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE, Vice-Chancellor of GCU, said: “We are deeply privileged to have as our Chancellor someone so widely recognised for their leadership in advancing humanitarian causes across the World. The painting will act as a beacon of the moral compass, strategic direction and social impact of our University for the Common Good.”

World-renowned artist Mr Burns admitted he was “star-struck” by the Chancellor when he met her to discuss the portrait.

“I was pretty star-struck meeting Annie Lennox and I have to admit It took me a wee bit of time to catch my breath and get my head around  photographing Annie Lennox the icon… and more importantly getting to know ‘Annie’ the person,” he said.

“Painting someone so iconic brings its own pressures and challenges. I have always admired Annie for her formidable talent and the incredible characters she created for her visually extravagant videos. I find her work quite inspirational. She is of course also a brilliant musician and an amazing woman in every sense of the word. I can only hope I’ve done her justice!”

Mr Burns began painting the portrait last autumn and finished in March this year. He said he tried to capture the “real essence, defining quality” of Chancellor Lennox.

“With Annie, she is as physically striking as her character and creativity and you can see the depth and detailed consideration she has, within her and all that she does,” he added.

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