GCU unveils Gerard Burns’ portrait of Chancellor Muhammad Yunus

30 June 2016

GCU unveils Gerard Burns’ portrait of Chancellor Muhammad Yunus

A portrait of the University’s Chancellor Professor Muhammad Yunus, commissioned by GCU and painted by Scottish artist Gerard Burns, has been unveiled.

The portrait depicts Professor Yunus in his traditional ‘Grameen’ shirt wearing the Chancellor’s robes and holding the Chancellor’s hat in one hand. 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 his portrait for the first time, Professor Yunus said: “The portrait is fantastic. It represents my bond with GCU. It’s beautiful.”

Mr Burns created the portrait after lengthy discussions with Professor Yunus and GCU senior staff, and worked from hundreds of photographs he took of his subject.

Mr Burns said: “There’s a huge element of psychology involved in painting a portrait. My signals for painting Professor Yunus were words like dignity, humility and that the portrait shouldn’t be pompous. All of that feeds in before I make the first mark on canvas. A portrait isn’t just about creating a likeness; in the great tradition of portraiture, what you are seeing is the subject’s soul.”

GCU Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE, said: “This wonderful arresting portrait embodies the relationship between GCU’s educational and applied research commitment to the Common Good and Professor Yunus’ lifelong goal to alleviate poverty and promote equality and social justice. Gerard’s portrait sings with dignity, intellectual excitement, warmth and humility; all aspects of the University’s core purpose to deliver social benefit for the communities we serve.”