2018 RDS Visual Art Award Winners Announced

The RDS Visual Art Awards has a total prize fund of €30,000 and follows the long-standing RDS tradition of supporting emerging Irish artistic talent. Independent college curators were employed by the RDS to visit thirteen end-of-degree shows all around Ireland and longlist the best as contenders to exhibit. 121 artists were longlisted in this way, with thirteen then shortlisted by the judging panel to display their work at the RDS Visual Art Awards Exhibition. The four winners were then selected from the thirteen exhibitors.

List of award winners:

  • RDS Taylor Art Award – Mary Sullivan
  • R.C. Lewis-Crosby – Gary Reilly
  • RDS Special Award – Sue Dolan
  • RHA Graduate Studio Award – Anishta Chooramun
  • RDS Centre Culturel Irlandais Residency Award – Elaine Grainger

Mary Sullivan a graduate of the DIT Dublin School of Creative Arts, Sherkin Island has won the 2018 RDS Taylor Art Award of €10,000 for her BA work At Home, At War which was announced at the launch of the RDS Visual Art Awards Exhibition. Mary follows an illustrious roll-call of previous winners such as Harry Clarke, Seán Keating, Louis Le Brocquy, Dorothy Cross, Maria McKinney, Sam Keogh and many others.

Speaking about the winning work, exhibition curator Amanda Coogan said: “Mary Sullivan’s installation was a unanimous choice by the judging panel for the RDS Taylor Art Award. She is an artist of immense integrity and has created a powerful installation that speaks to Ireland’s colonial past and in parallel explores the role of women in Ireland.

The panel were delighted with the standard of work from this year’s graduates and which is reflected in this year’s exhibition.”

NCAD graduate Gary Reilly was this year awarded the R.C. Lewis Crosby Award (€5,000) for Duanaire. This work involved the artist collaborating with a composer and a brass band. It incorporates a film and a beautifully crafted publication linked to the port in Drogheda, Co. Louth.

A new €2,500 cash award was awarded to Sue Dolan – a graduate of CIT Crawford College of Art & Design in Cork. Her piece entitled a mala nada na lama, is Sue’s response to a case study of documented resistance to the displacement of a community in Rio de Janeiro, which happened in advance of the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, and it draws transcultural parallels with women’s rights in Ireland in 2018.

The winner of the 2018 Centre Culturel Irlandais Residency Award in Paris is Elaine Grainger, an MA graduate of NCAD. This award is sponsored by Mason Hayes & Curran who have a strong track record of supporting Irish artists.

Her work entitled barely hardly there, is a site-specific installation. Each work is assembled with the intention of interrelating with the others, connected through the positioning of the viewer. Materials such as clay and glass are purposely placed with materials such a plastic and neon. The work hovers between two and three dimensions.

Another new award for 2018 is the result of a partnership with the RHA who have offered its RHA Graduate Studio Award as part of the 2018 RDS Visual Art Awards. With a value of €5,000, this prize comes with a stipend of €2,500 which is supported by the RDS. IADT Graduate Anishta Chooramun is the recipient of this award which was selected by the RHA.

Entitled And Then We Met Anishta’s work comprises of a series of sculptures made from various materials including birch ply, paper, glass, fabric, metal, expandable foam and lino. The pieces vary in size and are installed to create an abstract jigsaw puzzle.


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