Mayo artist Saoirse Wall has been awarded a prestigious Next Generation award by the Arts Council, the government agency for funding and developing the arts.
The award means Saoirse, a visual artist, will receive €20,000, in effect to buy time to develop her practice. Saoirse is just one of 23 artists from all over the country who has been selected for the award.
Artists will also take part in a collective week-long residential programme in The Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, Co Monaghan, in early 2021. There, they will have the opportunity to engage with mentors and other supports to help shape their work into the future.
The Next Generation programme recognises and promotes a selection of artists from different disciplines, such as traditional arts, music, dance, film, theatre and literature.
Saoirse Wall said: "I'm very grateful to receive this award which will allow for a period of experimentation and research over the next year while developing a new body of work.
Arts Council Director Maureen Kennelly said the agency had received a large number of applications for the award this year, and that the standard had been particularly high.
"All of the artists have demonstrated an exceptional ambition and vision for their work, and the Arts Council is delighted to support them,” she said. “I look forward to following them in their work over the coming years.”
Saoirse Wall works with moving-image and performance to articulate experiences that lack representation in social narratives of gender, health, and the body. Scale, immersive sound, and suggestive gestures are manipulated to disrupt and discomfort.
Wall recently participated in School of the Damned, a UK-based, peer-led alternative art school. Their work has been screened and exhibited with AEMI, LUX Scotland, Hotel Maria Kapel (NL ), Platform Arts Belfast and TULCA.
In 2014 their film Gesture 2 was shortlisted for the inaugural Hennessy Portrait Prize and subsequently became the first moving-image work to be purchased for the National Gallery of Ireland Collection.