Kilkenny artist shortlisted for Zurich Portrait Prize 2020

The oil-on-wood painting depicts staff of St Columba's Hospital in Thomastown

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HSE Heroes, The Wonderful Staff of St Joseph’s Ward, St Columba’s Care Home, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, April 2020 by Sinead Lucey

A Kilkenny artist has been shortlisted for the Zurich Portrait Prize 2020 at the National Gallery of Ireland.

Sinead Lucey has made the shortlist for her painting 'HSE Heroes, The Wonderful Staff of St Joseph’s Ward, St Columba’s Care Home, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, April 2020'. The oil painting on wooddepicts five of the dedicated HSE/South East Community Healthcare team at St Columba’s, shown standing outside St Joseph’s Ward at the 90-bed long stay residential care facility.

Selected from more than 1,000 entries, the shortlists of both the 2020 Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize have been announced today by the National Gallery of Ireland. Some 26 artists, working across a variety of different media, have made it through to the final stage of the Zurich Portrait Prize, while 20 young artists aged between three and eighteen years old have been shortlisted for the Zurich Young Portrait Prize.

The winner of the Zurich Portrait Prize will receive a prize of €15,000 and a commission worth €5,000 to create a new work for inclusion in the National Portrait Collection at the National Gallery of Ireland. There will also be two awards of €1,500 for highly commended works. Judges for this year’s Zurich Portrait Prize are Dr Philip Cottrell, lecturer and assistant professor at the School of Art History and Cultural Policy, UCD; artist Rita Duffy; and Aoife Ruane, Director of Highlanes Gallery.

Returning for its second year, the Zurich Young Portrait Prize accepted entries from young people up to the age of 18 from across the island of Ireland. Five winners (one from each age category, and an overall winner) will be chosen. Winners will receive a bespoke art box and a cash prize. This year’s Zurich Young Portrait Prize judges are Maria Cagney, Head of Education, The Hunt Museum; artist Colin Davidson; and illustrator, author and comedian Aoife Dooley.

An exhibition of works shortlisted for the Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize will open at the National Gallery of Ireland on 21 November 2020. Following the success of the run of last year’s exhibitions at Crawford Art Gallery, the Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize will travel to Cork once again in April 2021.

“We were thrilled to receive so many entries to both competitions in 2020, as we continue to raise the profile of contemporary portraiture," said Sean Rainbird, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland.

"In November, our visitors will be able to see wonderful new works by artists of all ages at the Gallery, and later at Crawford Art Gallery in Cork. It’s terrific to welcome Zurich back to partner with us once again to showcase portraiture in such an exciting way.”

Neil Freshwater, CEO of Zurich, said the quality of works shortlisted for both the Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize was impressive.

"We look forward to seeing these works unveiled in the Gallery in November and enjoying the new perspectives that they bring. We are very proud to continue to sponsor these prizes and to foster the creativity of artists of all ages," he said.

For more, see www.nationalgallery.ie.