Patricia Poprawa from Co. Donegal was yesterday announced as the 1st Place Winner of the Sightsavers Junior Painter Awards, with three other pupils winning top prizes in the national contest.
The winners of the Sightsavers Junior Painter Awards 2018 were unveiled yesterday in The Science Gallery, Dublin. 12 year old Patricia Poprawa from Glenswilly National School, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal was announced the overall winner for her inspiring and thought-provoking creation ‘Draw me in…I’m waiting.’
Competition was as strong as ever and this year’s theme ‘Put Us In The Picture’ inspired creative entries from hundreds of primary schools across the country.
All the young winners were thrilled to be presented with their awards by Sightsavers CEO Charlie Lamson. Finalists Ciara Doherty (age 8) and Caitlin McDaid (age 8), both from St. Patrick’s Girls National School in Cardonagh and highly commended Katelyn Houston (age 12) from Scoil an Choimin, Lifford were also delighted to be at the awards ceremony where they were honoured for their artistic paintings.
The judges tasked with the difficult job of choosing this year’s winners were disability campaigner and little person Sinéad Burke (aka Minnie Melange), Laureate na nÓg and illustrator PJ Lynch, and artist and director of Arts and Disability Ireland Padraig Naughton. They were astounded by the calibre of entries received and especially noted the creativity, colour and effort that went into each and every painting.
The annual Junior Painter Awards competition was devised by Sightsavers to inspire Irish children to express their artistic talent through painting, whilst developing an appreciation of the importance and value of their sight and the additional challenges facing those living with visual impairment in developing countries.
The winning top three schools receive a cash prize for their schools, sponsored by The Book Centre and Barker and Jones bookshop, and memberships and ‘toolboxes’ full of arts and craft materials from ReCreate Ireland.
The 22 finalists and highly commended paintings will be exhibited in theDLR LexIcon (Dun Laoghaire LexIcon Library) throughout the Summer. The paintings will also be displayed in Powerscourt Town Centre, Dublin 2 for the month of August.
Judge Sinéad Burke said: “In the year that Ireland will ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, it was inspiring to see the appetite that children, teachers and communities have in exploring the nuanced conversation surrounding disability.
“I was incredibly impressed by the children’s pairing of artistry and intellect as they approached complex topics including identity, the social model of disability, allyship and othering.
“However, I was most moved and inspired by how their work was rooted in empathy and that even the youngest of entries were focused on constructive solutions to how we can make the world a fairer and equal place for all.”