Drawing helped gifted young artist Eva McPartland (14), who won the Zurich Young Portrait Prize on Tuesday evening, get through the pandemic.
Eva’s portrait of her sister Ellen (10), depicting her wearing a face mask, won the overall top prize in the highly contested competition, entitled ‘Is This Normal?’
Speaking to Independent.ie, the artist from Malahide said that she was inspired by her mother Sarah, who works as a nurse and wears a mask every day.
“My mum is a nurse and it was kind of inspired by her.”
Eva said that she wanted to express “almost fearful emotions” about new mask policies, which came into effect at the beginning of the pandemic in her painting.
“I wanted to express these apprehensive and almost fearful emotions about the times we were heading into. I chose to draw my sister with a mask to show how this new policy of wearing a mask does impact us.
“It’s kind of a new normal but I wanted to show how it isn’t really normal, but we sort of have to get used to it,” she explained.
“It’s a strange way to break up a portrait because normally you would see the whole face, but you can only see the eyes.”
She said that she took photos of her sister, chose the best one and spent about 20 hours drawing the portrait, which took her around 20 hours.
In the piece, Ellen can be seen looking right at the viewer.
“I did want to make it kind of arresting, I suppose, to make people stop and think,” said Eva.
She said that during the pandemic, art has kept her going.
“It’s a really mindful thing to do, sometimes you can draw with music or do it in silence and it really clears your mind.
“It has [kept me going].
“It really grounds you and helps you express different emotions and keep on top of them,” the young artist added.
This is not the first accolade for Eva, who also won a Kildare children’s art competition earlier this year and has received Merits for her works in the popular Texaco Children’s Art Competition.
As well as a personalised wooden box of high quality art materials, her prize includes a €500 cash prize.
Conor McPolin ( 6) won the youngest category with Conor, a self-portrait.
In the second category, 10-year old Jiayi Sun won with a self-portrait set in Beijing, Myself Eating Ice Cream.
A girl in silence, a portrait about freeing imagination by Zili Yang (12) was the winner of the category for ages 12-15.
JohnLuka Doherty, (17) won the final category with Joey, a portrait of the artist’s school basketball coach. Each category winner is awarded a personalised box of art materials alongside a prize of €250.
A portrait capturing an eight-year-old boy and his time at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, which became the inspiration for a painting by his father, has been revealed as the winner of the National Gallery of Ireland’s Zurich Portrait Prize.
Portrait of a Boy, Morning by Aidan Crotty was announced as the winning portrait for the adult category of the Zurich Portrait Prize. As well as a prize of €15,000, the artist received a commission worth €5,000 to produce a new work for the National Portrait Collection.
The Zurich Portrait Prize exhibition, featuring the winning portrait alongside 25 other shortlisted works is now open at the National Gallery of Ireland and will run until 21 March 2021 alongside the Zurich Young Portrait Prize exhibition of 20 shortlisted portraits.