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Sherkin art students in running for prestigious awards

August 4th, 2022 11:55 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Fiona Hayes, one of the art degree graduates to be considered for a national award.

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A NUMBER of students doing the art degree course on Sherkin Island have made the longlist for the RDS Visual Arts Graduate Awards.

For more than two decades, the island has been home to the BA (hons) in Visual Art run by TU Dublin.

This year, however, the participants have enjoyed considerable success as five of the emerging artists from the graduation class of 2022 have been longlisted for the prestigious RDS Visual Arts Graduate Awards, which take place in Dublin later this year.

Fiona Hayes, Dianne Curtin, Robert Sobura, Niamh Ni Chearbhaill, and Svetlana Majerova attracted the attention of the independent assessor for the RDS awards during their group degree show on the island recently. The graduate awards recognise the best emerging artists in the country, and the course has already seen one winner of the prestigious RDS Taylor Art Award, which is the highest honour it can bestow.

The five long-listed students from this year’s graduation group will be hoping to bring yet more recognition for the course, which generates some of the best contemporary conceptual art in the country.

The art works include a video and sonic work based on the Digital Enclosure by Fiona Hayes, Dianne Curtin’s sculptural and moving image installation called Modes of Escape which focuses on domestic abuse, a pandemic inspired work named Coming Back to the Table by Niamh Ni Chearbhaill, a painting and sculptural installation exploring liminality, separation and internal rebirth by Svetlana Majerova, and the environmental anti-capitalist living artworks of Robert Sobura.

All five students are delighted to have been recognised and put forward by the RDS assessor.

They agree that the quality of the lectures from established Irish artists like Jesse Jones, David Beattie and course coordinator Dr Glenn Loughran, as well as guidance and support form Sherkin island-based artist Majella O’Neill Collins has played a huge part in achieving the nominations.

The graduates also acknowledge the support and encouragement of Ann Davoren at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre, who curated this year’s recent graduate degree show which took place at Uillinn Gallery.

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