Creative Ireland Programme and RTÉ announce This Is Art! winning entries

by Gazette Reporter

RTÉ and the Creative Ireland Programme are delighted to announce the category winners of the This Is Art! Competition which was a great success.

Eight-year-old Teddy Duggan from Terenure, Dublin with one of his Painted Stones which won the 8–11-year-old category of the RTÉ Creative Ireland This Is Art! initiative. During the pandemic Teddy painted many stones and left them in secret locations much to the delight and surprise of his neighbours. PHOTO: Mark Stedman

Almost 9,000 young people from around the country responded with creativity, enthusiasm and great thoughtfulness to the theme of This Is Now.

What emerged is a visual representation of our young people’s perspective on the health crisis and how it has impacted their lives and the lives of those they love. 

All artworks are now showcased in an online art gallery on  that will be available for generations to come.

The Winning Entries (with artist statements and judges’ comments) are:


TIA Grand Prix Award Winner: Sean Hoban – “Love from a Distance” 

Sean is from Eyrecourt, Co Galway

“This is my neighbour Jed. I loved visiting Jed everyday with my Dad. Jed makes me laugh by telling funny stories & jokes, Jed gives me biscuits & tea, Jed shows me his lambs & I always play with his dog Celia. During the Covid I can’t visit Jed and I miss him a lot but Mam and Dad said I can send love from a distance. Now we drive by and I look into Jed in the field and give him a big wave. Jed always gives me a big smile back. Even though I can’t visit Jed I can send him love from a distance. 

What the judges said (Tadhg Crowley, Glucksman Gallery):

“This artwork just jumped out at me! I love Sean’s drawing style. He has demonstrated real skill in the different painting techniques that can be seen in the artwork and this is beautifully combined with huge detail of the drawing. The artwork is really joyous and I love Sean’s statement, the story resonates for so many of us during these unprecedented times.”

Second Place: Bryanna Buckley Age 5 from Drogheda, Co Louth

Third Place: Pádraic Matthews Age 5 from Santry, Co Dublin


TIA Grand Prix Award Winner: Teddy Duggan – “Painting Stones” 

Teddy is from Terenure, Co Dublin

“I paint these stones so I leave them around my area for people to find to make them feel happy .”

What the judges said (Tadhg Crowley, Glucksman Gallery):

“This project that brings creativity and joy to so many people is a truly wonderful artistic endeavour. What Teddy has created demonstrates originality, kindness and skill. This project made me smile and I think how lucky Teddy’s neighbours are to be able to encounter these beautiful treasures in their area.”

Second Place: Ellen Tierney (Age 11) from Naas, Co Kildare

Third Place: Edward O’Meara (Age 10) from Arklow, Co Wicklow

CATEGORY: 12 – 15

Age 12-15 category

TIA Grand Prix Award Winner: Shahad  Al-Majmaie (15) – “Blank Faced Brother”

Shahad is from Knocklyon, Co Dublin

“This is a portrait of my brother that I drew during lockdown. I used the book paper to symbolise all the bad news that was being bombarded at us during Covid-19. I decided not to draw a face to represent the sadness that we were feeling as well as our efforts to stay hopeful and block out the news. I chose for my brother to hold the book ‘Trash’ to express how I was feeling. The book is also a symbol of distraction from the media and Covid-19”

What the judges had to say (Fatti Burke):

“Shahad’s portrait of her brother is graphic and intriguing, encouraging the viewer to ask questions and look deeper into the artist’s intent. Her use of collaged text has a dizzying effect behind the subject and it really gave me the feeling of being overwhelmed by information. Her drawing style is expressive, even without a facial expression, and her work draws me in. An exciting young artist with a lot to say!” 

Second Place: Jamie Cahill (15), The Curragh, Co. Kildare

Third Place: Joanna Lipska, (14), Newbridge, Co. Kildare

CATEGORY: 16 – 18

TIA Grand Prix Award Winner: Hannah Hurley (17) – “The Warrior”

Hannah is from Cobh, Co. Cork 

“This portrait depicts my granda, Denis, on St. Patrick’s Day. Besides everything else that was against the older generation in 2020, his wife, my grandmother passed away this year and I believe that struggle is clear in this painting, however silent he can be sometimes. I used acrylic paints to express this piece, I enjoyed the contrast of the bright colours of the festive hat and his dower expression, I think it reflected my ‘now’ very well.” 

What the judges had to say (Sarah McAuliffe, National Gallery of Ireland):

“Hannah’s artwork ‘The Warrior’ is so touching and it brought out lots of emotions in me (and the whole judging panel!). I feel like many people can relate to the sense of sadness and loneliness in her grandfather’s face during such a difficult time and we have seen similar expressions in our own loved one’s faces. I like how this is contrasted with some bright colours to underline the potential for hope in the future. From a technical point of view, her composition and brushwork is outstanding.”

What the judges had to say (Fatti Burke):

“What drew me into Hannah’s painting so much is the depth of emotion in her grandfather’s portrait. The novelty hat he wears for Patrick’s Day instantly made me smile, but it sits above a muted image of a man suffering his own battle. Hannah’s piece is poignant, gentle and beautifully executed, successfully capturing a nation’s pain in a single expression. Stunning work.”

Second Place: Mary Bradford (17), Dungarvan, Co. Waterford

Third Place – Milena Krahl (18), Inisturk Island, Co. Mayo


TIA Grand Prix Award Winner Ard Scoil na nDéise, Dungarvan  “Ní neart go cur le chéile” (There is no strength without unity )

Students made illuminated lantern sculptures inspired by one of Ireland’s best known tales, ‘The Children of Lír’. Their art piece reflecting the difficult times endured but that sense of ‘apart but together’. Whilst not able to work closely with each other like before, remarkably the students created their pieces separately, encapsulating the concept of ‘Ní neart go cur le chéile’. 

What the judges had to say (Sarah McAuliffe , National Gallery of Ireland):

“This group project hits very close to home for many people during these challenging times and I love the sense of hope that each artwork and the group overall conveys. Together we are stronger and this certainly come through in the project. Despite the fact that these works had to be created individually, they all connect to each other beautifully and it goes to show that we can be close through things like art even when we are far apart. A big congratulations to everyone who took part in this project!”

Second Place: Gorey Community School Transition Year, Co. Wexford

Third Place: Towers Development Group Clondalkin, Co. Dublin

Each firstplace winner receives the TIA Grand Prix Award of a specially commissioned sculpture by visual artist Vera Klute ARHA along with bursaries to attend summer courses at Crawford School of Art and Design and art materials. 

100 young artists will also receive Certificates of Commendation along with prize vouchers for art materials and a professional review of their work. Three Group Bursaries were also awarded to school or group projects. 

Commenting Tania Banotti Director of the Creative Ireland Programme 

On behalf the Creative Ireland Programme I want to congratulate the category winners of This Is Art. It was a very real privilege for the Creative Ireland along with our partners in Young People’s Programming at RTÉ to support the creativity of our young citizens. The response to This Is Art was over whelming and extremely revealing. Not only are our young people extremely talented but their work has demonstrated an awareness and wisdom  that must be applauded. As a nation we should be very proud of them 

The judging panel included Joe Caslin, Fatti Burke, Tadgh Crowley ( Glucksman Gallery, UCC)  Leanne McDonagh and Sarah McAuliffe  ( National Gallery of Ireland )

Suzanne Kelly, Head of Children’s & Young People’s Content, RTÉ said: “What a wonderful positive experience this has been. I said when we launched this initiative that art has the ability to unite people and at the same time fill our world with beauty, which is exactly what has happened with This is Art! It has been at times overwhelming to see so many children respond with such incredible art over these past months.

This is such a difficult time for children through the island of Ireland, which makes their engagement with this initiative feel so rewarding and worthwhile. I’d like to thank the Creative Ireland Programme for giving RTÉ, through our Young People’s Department, the opportunity to provide this platform for all the young artists out there.”

Full list of commended artworks will be made available to view at  and  along with further information, competition details and terms and conditions.

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