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Artists slam RTE competition as 'farce'

AN art competition launched by RTE is getting a frosty reception from some of Ireland's top artists, with some calling it a "disgrace" and "a complete farce".

The artists are angry that the prize for the ARTifact competition is that the three winning artists are asked to donate their entries, which RTE will then display somewhere in its Montrose headquarters.

"They seem to be saying that 'artists love us so much that they'll do a piece of artwork for free for us to hang in the canteen in Montrose!' It's a bit arrogant," said artist and illustrator Annie West.

The sculptor and caricaturist Allan Cavanagh said the competition was "a complete farce, absolutely outrageous" and said he would encourage artists and the public to enter mock pieces.

"There's a perception out there that artists love their work so much that they can afford to do it for free and live off thin air.

"But if I 'display' RTE in my living room by turning on the television, I have to pay for the right to do that. If RTE expects someone to give it a piece of their work, then it should pay them for it," he added.

Both artists said they would be boycotting the competition, as did a number of other artists who were contacted but wished to remain anonymous.

Noel Kelly of Visual Artists Ireland said RTE was "asking for a lot and with no reward. It says that the prize is having your piece of art displayed somewhere in Montrose, but there is no prize. It's as simple as that. If an artist is handing over a piece of art, then they should be paid for it."

Christina Shaw, a spokeswoman for RTE admitted she was aware there had been some discontent among the art community, but insisted that the competition was aimed at the general public.

Entries will be accepted by RTE until February 18, with judges deciding on 10 semi-finalists and the general public will then decide on three winners. The competition has received 18 entries to date.

Sunday Independent