23 May 2022

Call-out to Kilkenny artists, children and young people for entries to national art competition

The Zurich Portrait Prize, open to artists aged 19 and over, runs for the ninth time in 2022

File photo

Notable artist Blaise Smith, who is based in Dungarvan, Kilkenny was previously shortlisted for the Zurich Portrait Award for this painting of his parents

The National Gallery of Ireland seeks applications from Kilkenny artists, children and young people for this year’s Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize.

The competitions open today. For the Zurich Portrait Prize, the competition showcasing contemporary portraiture, the Gallery invites submissions from across the island of Ireland, and from Irish artists living abroad. The Zurich Young Portrait Prize, now in its fourth year, is open to young people aged 18 and under. 

The Zurich Portrait Prize aims to encourage interest in contemporary portraiture and to showcase the National Portrait Collection at the National Gallery of Ireland. The winner of the competition will receive a cash prize of €15,000 and will be commissioned to create a work for the national portrait collection, for which they will be awarded a further €5,000. Two additional awards of €1,500 will be given to highly commended works. 

The Zurich Young Portrait Prize, which aims to foster and support creativity, originality and self-expression in children and young people returns for its fourth year in 2022. The competition is split into four age categories and is open to young people of all abilities aged up to 18 from across the country. Winners in each age category and an overall winner will be chosen from a shortlist of 20 works. Winners will receive a bespoke art box and a cash prize. 

Sean Rainbird, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, said: “The Zurich Portrait Prize and the Zurich Young Portrait Prize at the National Gallery of Ireland continue to go from strength to strength. Our aim is to encourage an interest in contemporary portraiture and we’re thrilled to have Zurich partnering with us once again as we do so. This year, we look forwarding to learning about how artists and young people have been inspired in recent times as we welcome submissions from all age groups, from artists here in Ireland and Irish artists abroad.”

Neil Freshwater, CEO of Zurich, said: “Since 2018 Zurich has held the honour of supporting these competitions, which showcase talented artists of all ages from the island of Ireland and from Irish artists based abroad. We look forward each year to seeing that creativity and energy housed amongst the greatest artists in the National Gallery.”

The closing date for entries to the Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize is June 22, 2022.  Exhibitions featuring shortlisted works in both competitions run at the National Gallery of Ireland between November 26, 2022 and April 2, 2023. 

The exhibitions will then travel to Donegal where they will run at Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny from June 3, 2023 to  September 2, 2023. This is the first time that the competition exhibitions will be on display in Ulster.

Highly commended artists and an overall winner for the Zurich Portrait Prize, as well as category winners and an overall winner for the Zurich Young Portrait Prize, will be announced in early December 2022, after the exhibitions have opened at the Gallery.

Find out more at 

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