AGREEMENT | Irish Artist's Film Index


Amanda Dunsmore

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Artist's biography

Amanda Dunsmore


Amanda Dunsmore - Visual Artist/Director


AGREEMENT (2004-2023) is a unique collection of 14 video portraits depicting individuals involved in the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which ended decades of conflict in Northern Ireland. This monumental artwork series was created in recognition and inspired by these individuals contribution to the ending of ‘The Troubles’. The calm filmic studies in light present a point of reflection, a moment of silence. The portraits are silent, and continuously looped in gallery presentation, and in all of them the subjects are still, seated, their gaze focused and looking out towards the audience. AGREEMENT features : David Ervine, Progressive Unionist Party, filmed in Northern Visions community television studio, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2004; John Alderdice, Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, filmed at his home in Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2005; Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin, filmed in the Void Gallery, Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, 2005; John Hume, Social Democratic and Labour Party, filmed in the Void Gallery, Derry/Londonderry, 2005, Northern Ireland; David Trimble (by then Lord Trimble), Ulster Unionist Party, filmed in Seapatrick Parish Church Hall, Banbridge, Co. Down, Northern Ireland, 2017; Senator George Mitchell, United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland, filmed in the Shelbourne hotel, Dublin, Ireland, 2018; Monica McWilliams, Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, filmed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2005/2019; Pearl Sagar, Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, filmed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2019; Seamus Mallon Social Democratic and Labour Party, filmed in Markethill, Armagh, Northern Ireland, 2019; Bertie Ahern, Fianna Fáil Taoiseach, filmed in Drumcondra, Dublin, Ireland, 2019. Gary McMichael, Ulster Democratic Party, filmed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2022; Malachi Curran, Labour Party of Northern Ireland, filmed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2022. Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin, filmed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2022. The synthetic media portrait, created by machine learning, digitally processed from RTE archival media footage of former UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1997-1999), Dr Mo Mowlam (deceased) was the final AGREEMENT portrait. Her role was crucial to the peace process and as is the case with other women involved, her importance played down. Using new technologies associated with ‘Deep Fakes’, Dunsmore has appropriated machine learning technology to facilitate a positive representation of women. This representation and acknowledgement of women in politics, is an important aspect of Dunsmore's art practice. Dr Mowlam's portrait is similar in composition to the previous, 13 filmed portraits - silent, 4:3 aspect ratio. Funded by Arts Council of Ireland 2021 Visual Arts Bursary, Dr Mowlam’s portrait completes the artwork, (2023).

Concept & Technique

AGREEMENT (2004-2023) is a unique collection of 14 individual video portraits and in a museum / gallery context are exhibited on individual, large-scale screens. The portraits are filmed in 4:3. The same dark red velvet curtain is used for each portrait, providing a visual parity of composition. There is only one take. The lighting is purposely reminiscent of painterly use of light and compliments facial features. The camera acts as a gatherer of light. These are portraits of light painted in pixels, the artistic aim being to create artworks which would provide an insight and understanding of the individuals involved in the Good Friday Agreement. The shifting light, replicates the shifting subtlest of the sitters face. The substance of light and colour dissolving into image. A slight, moving image, on the flat surface of the material projected, or shining through the glass of a monitor. "The portraits of AGREEMENT - as all my filmed portraits - are silent. Silence was not something we attribute to politicians. They are talking to us constantly through (at the time of the conflict) the medium of television. All human understanding is based on the communication through speech, the written word through visuals, body language. Conversation is communication. Communication is society. Silence is to be mute and can be an indication of trauma, conversely silence is also an indication of processing and of consideration. Cognitive processes require silence. When I talk you are listening, but I am looking at you. I’m ‘reading’ you. My eyes take in the subtle changes of your face. Are you listening, are you understanding me, are you attentive or distracted? These non-verbal, body-based readings are constantly subtle and very important for me to try and understand you. There are two halves to human communication. The silent – the listener, is the completion of communication. " Dunsmore, 2023. A special 3-screen, epic- scale presentation of all 14 portraits, edited down to a 5 min showing of each individual in the artwork was shown at Ulster University, Belfast, April 2023. Following its launch at Ulster University, the exhibition is over the summer 2023, on a tour of communities across Northern Ireland. The special 3-screen configuration creates a physical and conceptual ‘space’ for civic refection and acts as a ‘pivot’ to working with six communities on the heritage of the Belfast 'Good Friday' Agreement. Social practice organisation quarto collective, are currently working with community groups across the country to identify and host locations for its visit. The first ownership - across a 24-hour period from 12 noon to 12 noon - was by the Women of Clonduff / Rathfriland Regen in Rathfriland, Newry in June. This special 3-screen exhibition forms part of a nationwide project in partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund, working with six communities on the heritage of the Belfast 'Good Friday' Agreement during it's 25th anniversary year.


Special 3-screen Exhibition:
2023, April - Ulster University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
2023, June - Chandlers House, Rathfriland, Newry, Women of Clonduff / Rathfriland Regen, Northern Ireland.





Biography, Cultural Commentary, Historical, Social Commentary


Arts, Human Relations, Politics, technology

Key phrases

Northern Ireland, The Troubles, place, people, moments of political significance, conflict, politcal, peace, portraiture, legacy, social historic, societal reflection, transformation, gender, visual parity, synthetic media, silence


00:20:00 (looped)

Original formats

Digital 4k, Digital HD, HD

Screening formats

Digital 4K, Digital HD

Aspect ratio






Supported by Kildare County Council Arts Service, the Arts Council of Ireland and Visual Artists Ireland.
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