A 16-year-old Mayo student, Shania McDonagh from Claremorris, has been chosen as the overall top prize winner of this year’s Texaco Children’s Art Competition. Her achievement in winning first prize in the senior age category, for students aged 16-18 years, brings with it the additional distinction of being the sixtieth young artist to share the honour in what is the 60th year of the Competition.
A first prize winner in her various younger age categories on four occasions previously (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 ), Shania is known for her painstakingly detailed portraits. Her prize-winning entry this year, a pencil study entitled ‘Coleman’, follows the style that has made her work so successful. A close-up facial study in pencil, it portrays her subject in such life-like detail that one can see every facial detail with absolute clarity.
A student at Mount St. Michael Secondary School, Claremorris, Shania’s success has seen her become one of the most successful artists in the 60 years history of the Texaco Children’s Art Competition. Describing Shania as ‘a young artist of exceptional skill and ability among the many talented artists in the Competition,’ the chairman of the judging panel Professor Declan McGonagle said ‘her work has established her as one of the most talented artists of her generation, and one whose skill could see her become one of Ireland’s foremost portrait artists of the future’. In winning the coveted first prize, Shania fought off competition from thousands of young students from across Ireland who took part in the competition. She will be presented with her €1,500 first-prize at the prize giving ceremony in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham next month when all of the 126 winners will be in attendance. Other Mayo winners, all of whom will receive Special Merit Awards are, Maeve Walsh (13 ) and Anna Prendergast (7 ), both from Castlebar Art Club, and Jenny Murphy (11 ), from Slowey School of Art, Ballina.