Venus Patel scoops top prize making her transphobic attack into artwork

Venus Patel took the RDS Taylor Art Award, given as first prize in the RDS Visual Art Awards to the most promising emerging visual artist that year

by Alex Greaney
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Winners of the annual RDS Visual Art Awards were announced last Thursday, October 20th, in the RDS Concert Hall, at the launch of this annual exhibition that celebrates emerging Irish artists.

This year’s awards were announced by Chair of the judging panel, Mary McCarthy, Director of the Crawford Gallery, Cork and presented by the RDS President, Professor Owen Lewis. The thirteen artists who were included in the exhibition went through a rigorous two stage selection and judging process. The 2022 exhibition runs at the RDS Concert Hall from Friday 21st to Saturday 29th of October.

The 2022 show is curated by internationally acclaimed artist Aideen Barry. The full expert judging panel is chaired by Mary McCarthy, and members also include Eithne Jordan, Christina Kennedy, Gary Coyle and Aideen Barry.

Venus Patel took the RDS Taylor Art Award with a cash prize of €10,000. This award is given as first prize in the RDS Visual Art Awards to the person the judges believe to be the most promising emerging visual artist in that year

Her work, ‘Eggshells’ is an experimental short film that deals with her own experience of a hate-crime in which she was egged and yelled at. The film is cut into 12 different segments, each focusing on a different character performing with an egg in different contexts. As Venus tries to process the event, the egg becomes its own symbol as it shows her journey of emotions, from sadness to internalized/externalized anger to finally acceptance and growth. The film uses performance, music, and dance in order to tumble through this journey. Venus’s references to cinema and theatre create a different feel for each segment of the film.

Commenting on the talent this year the judging panel, chaired by Mary McCarthy said; “We were enthralled by the work of the 13 shortlisted artists which are included in the 2022 RDS Visual Art Awards exhibition curated by Aideen Barry. We are also very impressed by the ability of this year’s RDS Taylor Art Award winner, Venus Patel to turn a transphobic attack into an incredibly beautiful artwork.”

Geraldine Ruane, RDS Chief Executive said; “The arts are a key component of the RDS Foundation Programme and its mission to make a positive contribution to the cultural and economic development of Ireland. The RDS Visual Art Awards exhibition provides a platform for talented graduates to showcase their work, and in addition, has a total prize fund equivalent of €30,000. It continues a long-standing RDS tradition of supporting emerging Irish artistic talent. The prestigious RDS Taylor Art Award has been presented by the RDS since 1860 and is still one of the most important awards for emerging visual artists in Ireland today.”

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