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Dan Killackey pictured with his prize-winning work entitled ‘Isolation’ with his father Donal, sister Vanessa and mother Ann.

SLIDESHOW: Clare winner of Texaco Children’s Art competition, with eight more honoured

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CLARE has enjoyed siginifcant success in this year’s 68th Texaco Children’s Art Competition with the overall winner coming from the Banner county.

Dan Killackey, 18, from Ardnacrusha, was chosen overall winner of this year’s competition, taking first prize in the senior 16-18 years age category.

Clare also had the winner in the 7-8 years category, which went to Aidan Hehir, 7, a pupil at Ennis Art School

Dan’s winning work, for which he receives a prize of €1,500, is entitled ‘Isolation’ and is a detailed portrait study in coloured pencils of his granduncle Mick.

In choosing it as overall prize winner in the Competition, Final Adjudicator and Chairman of the judging panel, Gary Granville, Professor Emeritus of Education at the National College of Art and Design, described Dan’s piece as ‘a short story in visual imagery.’

“In his image of a man and his cat, Dan has captured so many aspects of contemporary life in Ireland. Through understated reference to some resonant icons – the discarded Covid face-covering on the table, the classic Sacred Heart image in the far corner, and the old TV set in the background, we can locate a man we all seem to know,” Professor Granville added.

No stranger to the Competition, Dan won a Special Merit Award in the 16-18 years age category in 2020 for a portrait of his grandaunt entitled ‘Margaret’.

Youngest of three children, Dan first discovered his passion for art in primary school. He has continued to develop his talent throughout his teens, both at Junior and Leaving Certificate level. Now studying product design at University of Limerick, his love of art continues to grow and he has already received a number of commissions, which he looks forward to working on over the summer months.

His inspiration for his prize-winning portrait came to him whilst on a visit to his granduncle Mick’s home in North Tipperary. “The cat jumped onto the table and we took a photo of it. I realised afterwards that it would make for an interesting portrait study,” Dan explains.

In all, nine Clare artists have won top prizes in this year’s competition with one young artist winning his category.

Aidan Hehir won first prize in his category for his artwork entitled ‘Gaming’. His work is described by Professor Granville as “a vibrant painting, giving us a window into the lives of young people in 2022”.

In addition, seven Clare winners each won Special Merit Awards for artworks that Professor Granville said, “displayed high levels of skill and creativity.”

They were Mary Bourke (13), from St. Flannan’s College, Ennis; and Brian Coughlan (17), Eilish Strand (15), Adam Coote (14), Deria Kufa (13), Ciara Dee (10) and Mahia Rahyman (16), all pupils at Ennis Art School. No stranger to the competition, Mahia won a Special Merit Award last year, and in 2019

The Texaco Children’s Art Competition is popularly regarded as the longest-running sponsorship in the history of arts sponsoring in Ireland, with an unbroken history that dates back to the very first Competition held in 1955.

This year, as has been the case throughout its life, it has been a platform on which young artists from Clare and counties throughout Ireland have had their talents recognised and their creativity commended.

From May 31 to June 30, Belfast’s Royal Ulster Academy of Arts is hosting an exhibition of the top 126 winning paintings in this year’s Competition. Admission is free and the Academy is open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9am-5pm.

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