TWO aspiring artists from St Paul’s National School, Mountmellick were among the award winners in this year’s Sightsavers Junior Painter Awards at the Science Gallery in Dublin last week.
Lily Crossan (5) was honoured as one of the 15 finalists of this year’s competition for her painting Friends Forever, while five-year-old Andrew Senior was also commended for his painted entry etitled Treasure Your Friends.
The judges tasked with the difficult job of choosing this year’s winners were disability campaigner Sinéad Burke (aka Minnie Melange), Laureate na nÓg and illustrator PJ Lynch, and artist and director of Arts and Disability Ireland Padraig Naughton.
All the judges were astounded with the calibre of this year’s entries, with Sinéad Burke adding: “In the year that Ireland will ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, it was inspiring to see the appetite that children, teachers and communities have in exploring the nuanced conversation surrounding disability.
“I was incredibly impressed by the children’s pairing of artistry and intellect as they approached complex topics, including identity, the social model of disability, allyship and othering.”
The annual Junior Painter Awards competition was devised by Sightsavers to inspire Irish children to express their artistic talent through painting, while developing an appreciation of the importance and value of their sight and the additional challenges facing those living with visual impairment in developing countries. All of the winners were thrilled to be presented with their awards by Sightsavers CEO Charlie Lamson.
Olivia Lally, Sightsavers Junior Painter Awards co-ordinator credited all the entrants for their inspiring and creative entries saying: “It was clear that all of the children carefully considered the theme ‘Put us in the picture’ and put a lot of thought and effort into their paintings. I would like to congratulate all who entered and also thank the many teachers and parents who offered their support.
The 22 finalist and highly commended paintings will be exhibited in the Dun Laoghaire LexIcon Library throughout the summer and will go on to be displayed in Powerscourt Town Centre, Dublin 2 for the month of August.