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Zurich Young Portrait Prize is an inclusive art competition open to children and young people, up to the age of 18, of all abilities from across the island of Ireland. Following the huge success of the inaugural competition last year, we are delighted to present it again this year in partnership with the National Gallery of Ireland and Zurich Ireland.

All children and young people have the right to participate in arts and culture. Zurich Young Portrait Prize celebrates and supports this right. Exhibited here on the opposite wall are the twenty shortlisted works from four age categories: 6 and under, 7–11, 12–15 and 16–18. One winner is selected from each category along with an overall winner of the competition.
Portraiture can be powerful. Through this competition, the next generation is encouraged to shape who we see and how we see them. Their voices are vital in the future of museums. Each of these young artists has captured the physicality, personality, and story of the person they have chosen with imagination, creativity, and care. Each artwork offers joy, honesty, and affirmation, providing much needed respite during these current times.

The judges for Zurich Young Portrait Prize 2020 are:
Maria Cagney (Head of Education, The Hunt Museum, Limerick)
Colin Davidson (Visual Artist)
Aoife Dooley (Illustrator, Author, and Comedian)

Very special thanks to the hundreds of talented children and young people across Ireland who entered the competition. You inspire us!
Click on the image above to view a virtual tour of the exhibition at Crawford Art Gallery 

Overall Winner

Eva McParland | Overall Winner
Age 14

Is this Normal?
Pencil on paper

This portrait is of my younger sister Ellen. The mask she is putting on is central to the piece. It seems nearly normal now; but not long ago it would seem strange. I think this provokes deeper questions about the concept of normality.

Ages 6 and Under

Conor McPolin | Category Winner
Age 6

Paint on paper

This is a painting of me with big hair and escaping coronavirus.
Francesca Chu
Age 5

Standing in a Tranquil Stream

Watercolour, oil pastel, coloured pencil on paper When I was three, my parents took me to the countryside. I stepped into a stream with bare feet and found many beautiful pebbles

Margot Gillespie
Age 5

Katelyn my Bestie
Paint on canvas

This is a painting of my best friend from school, Katelyn. I miss her so much.
Muireann O’Reilly
Age 3

The sad pirate who couldn’t find treasure
Paint on paper

My portrait is of a pirate. The pirate is sad because he cannot find any treasure.
Cara Sinclair
Age 5

Woodland Girl
Flowers and natural materials

I went on a nature walk with my family and picked up lots of natural materials. I made this self-portrait from what I collected.

Ages 7-11

Jiayi Sun | Category Winner
Age 10

Myself Eating Ice Cream
Paint on canvas

The portrait was created in June this year, but it depicts myself having a rose flavoured ice cream in Beijing in last summer vacation. I had a whale of time with my friends.

Eloise Cassidy
Age 11

20 Seconds
Digital photograph on paper

This is my sister taking 20 seconds to wash her hands while singing “Happy Birthday” twice so she can stay as healthy as possible during these times

Zihan He
Age 11

Pencil on paper

I have been extremely bored during the pandemic. I started making lots of sketches and paintings of myself while sitting in front of a mirror, this my favourite one.
Emily McAdam Kavanagh
Age 11
Acrylic on canvas board

I took a black and white Polaroid photograph of my friend Zara in my local park and used acrylic paint to create the portrait, based on the Polaroid.

Hope Stephens
Age 8

Me When I’m Bored
Crayons, markers, glue, paper on paper

This is me nowadays. Since most of the time I am reading, in this self-portrait I am reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Ages 12-15

Zili Yang | Category Winner
Age 12

A Girl in Silence
Paint on canvas

I am extroverted and I laugh a lot. One day I sat in the back garden and I enjoyed freeing my imagination, my mum took a photo of me in this moment. I painted it to show a different me.

Jodie Lavery
Age 15

Watercolour and pen on paper

My portrait expresses how many people, mostly teenagers, are feeling through this time of the pandemic.

Seán Lynch
Age 15

Ballpoint pen on paper

This portrait is of my Finnish grandad who I call Ukki in Finnish. I chose to draw him as I am very close to him but unfortunately I cannot visit him this summer due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Ross McHale
Age 15

Mixed Emojions
Digital media

During this pandemic, we have had to communicate through social media and text. I grew frustrated with not seeing my friends’ faces, only little yellow ones. I wanted to make something more of these emojis, to mix them up a bit to show a completely new expression.

Ages 16-18

JohnLuka Doherty | Category Winner
Age 17

Acrylic, pencil, pen on cardboard

This is a portrait of my school basketball coach Joey Boylan. He is usually a quiet man but sometimes on the courtside he explodes with passion for the game. I wanted to show his quiet intensity

Alannah Ferry
Age 18

Portrait of the Pandemic
Scrap metal, solder, Newspaper clippings printed during the Covid 19 lockdown, PVA glue, marbles, voice recorder chip, fishing wire, mask, steel wool, clay, nail polish and glitter on canvas.

I used simple forms and features to portray sadness. Major events of the pandemic are spread out as if the thoughts of the
sculpture have escaped all around the canvas and beyond into an audio recording of the sculpture’s own sonnet. You can listen to Sonnet Covid-19 through the QR code below. You can also listen to or read the sonnet via During lockdown, I pierced my own ear, the sculpture wears the matching earring!

Scan to listen to the sculpture’s own sonnet!

Julia Galarowicz
Age 17

Pencil on paper

I have always thought that capturing water on paper is challenging, but that the results are worth it in the end. So, I asked my brother, Dominik, to step into the shower and I proceeded to pour water over him. This is what I drew.

Abbey O’Keeffe
Age 16

Paint on canvas

I drew inspiration largely from Pre-Raphaelite era paintings, which incorporate portraiture and mythology. I framed the face with vibrantly coloured flowers and wore clothes and jewellery that are evocative of the subjects of Pre-Raphaelite paintings.

Síobhra O’Reardon Farrell
Age 18

Oil on canvas

As soon as I saw this photo of my close friend Richard, I knew I wanted to paint it for the movement and his relationship with his surroundings. I wanted to create a piece that is conventionally ‘unfinished’, but completely resolved.

Emmett Place, Cork, Ireland
T12 TNE6
Tel: 021 480 5042

Opening Hours
N.B. Last entry is 15 minutes before closing

Monday–Saturday 10.00am–5.00pm*
Thursday until 8.00pm

Sundays and Bank Holidays
11.00 am4.00pm

*Second floor closes 15 minutes before closing
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