14-year-old wins art prize for masked portrait of her sister

The Zurich portrait prize and young portrait prize winners were announced by the National Gallery.

THE NATIONAL GALLERY has announced the winners of the Zurich portrait prizes for this year. 

The winner of the young portrait prize was 14-year-old Eva McParland for her portrait of her sister. 

McParland won €500 and some high quality art materials for her piece titled Is this Normal? 

eva-mcparland Is this Normal? by Eva McParland (14). Roy Hewson Roy Hewson

She said: “This portrait is of my younger sister Ellen. The mask she is putting on is central to the piece.

“It seems nearly normal now; but not long ago it would seem strange. I think this provokes deeper questions about the concept of normality.”

The winner of the portrait prize and a winning sum of €15,000 was Aidan Crotty with his piece called Portrait of a Boy, Morning.

It was inspired by his eight-year-old son Rían and his time at home during the pandemic. 

x-2020-9-21 Portrait of a Boy, Morning by Aidan Crotty. Roy Hewson Roy Hewson

He said: ”Absorbed in the notable quiet, Rían turns to feel the morning light warm his face. As we moved from Spring into Summer this painting gave a basic structure to start the day and is a record of our time in confinement.”

Crotty also received a commission worth €5,000 to produce a new work for the National Portrait Collection. 

Sarah Bracken Soper and Sathishaa Mohan received highly commended prizes of €1,500 for their respective portraits, Trailblazer and Dylan Logan.

x-2020-9-19 Trailblazer by Sarah Bracken Soper. Roy Hewson Roy Hewson

Sathishaa Mohan X.2020.9.4 Dylan Logan by Sathishaa Mohan. National Gallery National Gallery

There was a category for different age groups in the young portrait prize, alongside the overall winner Eva McParland. 

Conor McPolin (age 6) won the youngest category with Conor, a self-portrait.

conor-mcpolin Self portrait by Conor McPolin (age 6). Roy Hewson Roy Hewson

In the second category, 10-year old Jiayi Sun won with a self-portrait set in Beijing called Myself Eating Ice Cream. 

jiaya-sun Self portrait by Jiaya Sun (10). Roy Hewson Roy Hewson

A girl in silence, a portrait about freeing imagination by 12-year old Zili Yang was the winner of the category for ages 12-15.

zli-yang A girl in silence, portrait by 12-year old Zili Yang. Roy Hewson Roy Hewson

JohnLuka Doherty (17) won the final category with Joey, a portrait of the artist’s school basketball coach.

johnluka-doherty Joey by JohnLuka Doherty, aged 17. Roy Hewson Roy Hewson

Each category winner was awarded a personalised box of art materials alongside a prize of €250.

Sean Rainbird, the director of the National Gallery of Ireland, said it has been a “challenging year for artists”.

“We were delighted to receive over 1,000 entries across our two competitions,” he said.

“We were thrilled to reopen the Gallery doors just last week, and it’s a joy to watch our visitors explore new work at these exhibitions in our Portrait Gallery.”

The Zurich Portrait Prize exhibition, featuring the winning portrait alongside 25 other shortlisted works, is now open at the National Gallery in Dublin.

It will run until 21 March 2021 alongside the Young Portrait Prize exhibition of 20 shortlisted portraits. Both exhibitions will move to Crawford Art Gallery in Cork next year.

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