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20 May 2022

Talented Kildare teen scoops up first prize in art competition dedicated to frontline workers

Draw Our Heroes art competition

Pic: Supplied

A teenager from Kildare has won first prize in an art competition dedicated to frontline workers.

The young artist beat out over 1,600 other participants in the "Draw Our Heroes" art competition.

Speaking about her work, winner of the 13-15 years age category and Kildare resident, Della Cowper-Gray, explained that she choose a carer named Aideen as her hero because she worked hard as a career for the elderly.

"She came to our house to care for my Grand Uncle Amby (who is 91); she put herself at risk but always remained cheerful and greeted us all with her uplifting smile before putting on her mask," the young artist explained.

Competition originator Richard Mulcahy, also commented on the competition: "At the onset of the first lockdown, it was clear to me that while the pandemic brought great sadness and fear, it also brought us closer together as nation."

We could see how resilient and inventive we all can be during challenging times and the pandemic also brought into sharp relief the amazing work our ordinary healthcare and frontline workers do every day."

He continued: "I wanted to do something to help honour all these amazing people... I was so impressed by the creativity of our young entrants.

This past year and a half has been so challenging for young people and it was wonderful to  see them really use their artistic flair to connect with the message and bring it to life."

"Congratulations to all our winners and thank you to everyone who participated," he concluded.

First announced in April of last year, during the onset of the first lockdown, the competition asked budding artists from all around Ireland to immortalise the everyday heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic by submitting their original portraits to a national competition.

Applicants also submitted a written piece outlining why the artwork highlights this hero and what makes them so special.  

RTE broadcaster Joe Duffy and ceramic artist Olga Fitzpatrick  sat on the panel of judges for this exciting competition and presented the awards to the winning entries, while celebrated artist Graham Knuttel also sat on the judging panel.

The competition also featured the Director General of The World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who was painted by the 3rd prize winner in the 13-15 age category, Anna Louise Lumingkit.

Dr Adhanom Ghebreyesus also spoke with the young artist via Zoom.

First prize winners included:

  • Preksha Utekar from County Westmeath - Age category 8 years or under
  • Liadh Duane from County Galway - Age category 9-12 years
  • Della Cowper-Gray from County Kildare - Age category 13-15 years
  • Mary Bradfield from County Waterford  Age category 16-18 years

The winning entries will first be placed online for viewing, with a public exhibition planned later as a tribute to the heroic efforts of thousands of our citizens throughout the pandemic.

A prize pool of €2,500 has been awarded to the top 3 entries across 4 age categories, while a further €2,500 will be paid to the heroes nominated by the winning artists.

The Draw Our Heroes art competition was sponsored by the Irish pharma and medtech company Uniphar Group plc, as well as Richard Mulcahy.

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