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'Exceptional talent': These are the best pieces of art by Ireland's young artists

17-year-old Hetty Lawlor was announced as the overall winner of the Texaco Children’s Art Competition today.

Lawlor captured her neighbour in acrylic and colour pencil.
Lawlor captured her neighbour in acrylic and colour pencil.
Image: Texaco Children's Art Competition

A 17-YEAR-OLD from Mayo has been chosen as the overall winner of this year’s Texaco Children’s Art Competition for her portrait study of her young neighbour done in acrylic and colour pencil.

Hetty Lawlor from Kilmeena, near Westport, is a student at the local Sacred Heart School. Her painting, entitled ‘Gráinne’, was praised by the competition’s adjudicators as “a captivating portrait, beautifully composed, perfectly executed and life-like in its use of colour, tone and texture”. As well as the overall winner, she took first place in the senior 16-18 years category.

Lawlor recently took part in the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year competition, where she became the youngest artist to make it to the semi-final of the show.

She’s not the only artist in the family – her father is an artist, her mother designs carpets and rugs and her sister studies animation.

64th Texaco Childrens Art Awards 020 Hetty Lawlor with her winning artwork. Source: Mac Innes Photography

Lawlor expressed her “amazement” at being chosen the overall winner.

Knowing of the many renowned and highly talented artists who have won prizes in the competition down through the years, I feel hugely honoured to be amongst them.

Lawlor has been a prize winner in the competition, now in its 64th year, before. She won a special Merit award in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and her father won the overall prize when he was a 16-year-old in 1984.

His support, and the hope that I could follow in his footsteps, is one of the main reasons why I persisted in entering the competition.

Chairman of the judging panel, professor Paul McDonagle, described Lawlor as an “exceptional talent”, and said “she is the latest in a generation of young prize winners whose work is testament to the depth of artistic ability existing in Ireland today and an illustration of the very high standard of entries being submitted in the Texaco Children’s Art Competition”.

Lawlor will be officially presented with her prize at an event next month, when all of the 126 winners, from seven categories, will be in attendance. Her prize will include a cheque for €1,500 plus a visit to Tokyo in August at the invitation of the International Foundation for Arts and Culture.


In the 16-18 years category, Evan Kearney, age 18, from Bray, Co Wicklow, won second place for his portrait work.

A2 Evan Kearney Evan Kearney's entry

In the 14-15 years category, Tara Neville Moynihan, age 14, a student at Coláiste Chiaráin, Leixlip, won first place for her self-portrait.

B1 Tara Neville Moynihan Tara Neville Moynihan's entry

In the 12-13 years category, Yuxuan Chen, age 13, a student at Sancta Maria College, Ballyroan, Dublin, won first place for a colourful self-portrait.

C1 Yuxuan Chen Yuxuan Chen's entry

In the 9-11 years category, Luke Joyce, age 11, a student at St Laurence’s Boys’ National School, Stillorgan, Co Dublin, won first place for his self portrait.

D1 Luke Joyce Luke Joyce's entry

In the 7-8 years category, Remy Long, age 7, from Georgian Montessori School, Belvedere Place, Dublin, won first place for a piece entitled Aquarium Lionfish.

E1 Remy Long Remy Long's entry

In the six years and under category, six -year old Callum Leonard, a pupil at Bunscoil Loreto in Gorey, Co Wexford, won first place for for his study entitled Boy On Skateboard.

F1 Callum Leonard Callum Leonard's entry

In the category for young artists with special needs, 18-year old James Wellwood, a student at Coláiste Mhuire, Johnstown, Co Kilkenny, won first place for his painting entitled Lighthouse. Wellwood also won first prize in the category in 2016 and 2017.

G1 James Wellwood James Wellwood's entry

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