The Davy Portrait Awards

New visual arts prize celebrates the art of portraiture

A major new arts prize, the Davy Portrait Awards, was launched in Belfast with the aim of celebrating the exacting art of portraiture and the Irish artists who practice it. The winner will pick up a top prize of £10,000.

The awards are open to artists based in Northern Ireland and the Republic working in traditional and non-digital media. Irish artists based outside Ireland are also eligible to apply.

Work will be selected anonymously from an open submission by a judging panel comprising of Royal Hibernian Academy president Stephen McKenna, Royal Ulster Academy president Rita Duffy and international art critic and writer Gemma Tipton.

Rita Duffy, acclaimed portrait artist and president of the Royal Ulster Academy, commented: 

'Portraiture is about remembering who you are. This is why it has never fallen from fashion and remains a serious contemporary art form.'

The awards will showcase the finest competition entries in an exhibition at the Naughton Gallery, Belfast in the same month, and at Farmleigh House, Dublin in early 2009. 

Tony Garry, chief executive of the Davy Portrait Awards, commented: 

'Portraiture does more than simply depict a sitter, it creates a window into a person's world, their life, their aspirations, and says something too about their character. 

'We are delighted to provide the opportunity to recognise progress in this important visual arts area and expect artist submissions from across Ireland.'

The Davy Portrait Awards has a two-stage entry procedure. The first stage is a submission of artwork, the deadline for which is August 29, 2008. The second is a submission of shortlisted artwork on September 26, 2008. 

Davy Portrait Award winners will be announced at a special ceremony in Belfast in November. First prize is £10,000, whilst the runner will receive £3,500 and a high commendation will collect £1,500.

The Davy Portrait Awards will be supported by full colour catalogue of the selected pieces plus a website profiling the prize winners and showcasing a gallery of the exhibited works. 

Davy is Ireland's leading provider of stockbroking, wealth management and financial advisory services. The Davy Portrait Awards is in association with Arts & Business.

For further information and to download an application form visit the Davy Portrait Awards website.