Talented Ballybofey artist Veronica Maguire has been selected to feature in the 140th Royal Ulster Academy of Arts (RUA) exhibition for the first time.

Tonight, Veronica will take her place among the creme de la creme of the arts sector in Ulster.

The eagerly anticipated exhibition opens at the Ulster Museum Belfast this Friday 29th October, with the launch to be celebrated this evening.

Veronica Maguire

The exhibition had a record number of entries this year. And it was a stroke of luck that Maguire put forward her work this time. After two unsuccessful applications in recent years, she was not planning to try again. But, inspired during lockdown, Veronica created a series of paintings that she thought she would enter with, one more time.

“I still can’t believe that I got this far,” Maguire said.

“I have to pinch myself. It just shows people that if you do keep trying for things, you never know that someday it can happen.”

Veronica’s successful piece is titled ‘Homes of Donegal’, and was created with alcohol ink on yupo paper. This medium means that no painting is the same.

Homes of Donegal by Veronica Maguire

“‘Homes of Donegal is part of a series of paintings I did during lockdown. When we couldn’t go where we wanted to go, I did a lot of seascapes and landscapes from my imagination,” she said.

“I’d love to say the image is of somewhere real, but it’s my own imagination. It’s a place I would love to have been at that time. So I painted it instead.”

Veronica is full of excitement travelling to Belfast today to see her work on the walls of the Ulster Museum. The artwork is framed by Gerard McHugh, who has been very supportive of Veronica over the years. Guests of the Villa Rose Hotel would be familiar with Veronica’s work too, as she is the current artist in residence at the Ballybofey hotel.

The RUA exhibition contains examples of painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video and more. Some of the works reflect the times we are living and allude to isolation, social distancing and surviving in Covid times. Other works share deep messages with hope, humour, passion and integrity.

Another local artist, who is no stranger to the event, is Philip Mackey from Letterkenny. His portrait of a friend, entitled KAROL, was also selected this year.

Karol, by Philip Mackey

The exhibition is open to the public from Fri. 29th. Oct. 2021 and runs until Jan. 2022. For more details, visit: https://www.royalulsteracademy.org/