It is one of the longest running art competitions in the world and one of the longest running commercial sponsorships in the art world.
Generations have grown up having entered or remembered The Texaco Children’s Art Competition over the past 65 years.
It works because of the promotion which Texaco puts behind it with pump top reminders at each of the 150 Texaco branded filling stations across Ireland.
The artwork which will be visible on the ads for next year, and which will be shown in Tokyo in August at an exhibition of the International Foundation for Arts and Culture will be that of 16-year-old Naoise Hennessy from Craanford near Gorey in Wexford.
Her winning entry entitled ‘Lifelines’ – described by competition adjudicators as ‘a finely detailed study that so perfectly captures the features and character of the subject’ – is a portrait of an elderly lady delicately reproduced using watercolour pencils throughout.
Youngest of four children, Naoise is well known to many in Wexford and beyond as an All-Ireland medal winner and goal-scoring forward on the County’s under-16 camogie team.
Praising what he termed her ‘fine and detailed execution of what was an extremely challenging subject’, the Chairman of the judging panel, Gary Granville, Professor Emeritus of Education at the National College of Art and Design, described Naoise’s winning entry as ‘a truly lifelike and painstakingly executed work worthy of a place in any public gallery’.
In winning the coveted first prize, Naoise fought off competition from the over 25,000 young students from across Ireland who took part in the Competition. As her first prize, she receives a cheque for €1,500 plus the visit to Tokyo.
Announcing the awards at a reception held in The Morrison Hotel in Dublin today (Tuesday, 16th April 2019), James Twohig, Director of Ireland Operations for Valero – who market fuel in Ireland under the Texaco brand – pointed to what he termed ‘the groundswell of artistic talent’ to be found amongst Ireland’s young people.
“Despite the numerous other attractions that exist today, it is extremely gratifying to know that our young people continue to show an enduring interest in art and to demonstrate their ability in the magnificent prize-winning entries we see today,” he said.
The Texaco Children’s Art Competition is Ireland’s longest-running arts sponsorship in Ireland with an unbroken history that dates back to the very first Competition held in 1955.
This year, as has been the case throughout its life, it has been a platform on which young artists have had their talents recognised and a springboard on which many have risen to national prominence. Aside from giving students the space to give expression to their talent and skill, the Competition has focused a spotlight on the quality of art teaching in Irish schools and the importance that the educational establishment attaches to the subject of art education.
Past winners whose early interest in art and the arts may well have been encouraged by their participation in the Competition include artists Graham Knuttel, Robert Ballagh, Bernadette Madden, Dorothy Cross, fashion designer Paul Costello and former broadcaster and artist Thelma Mansfield. Other notable past winners include former Minister, Ruairi Quinn (a four-times winner), communications consultant and broadcaster Terry Prone, Chairman of the Pension Authority David Begg, actress Jean Anne Crowley, musician Ethna Tinney, Trinity College Professor of Contemporary Irish History Eunan O’Halpin and the late novelist Clare Boylan.
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