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Antrim teen crowned winner of Children’s Art Competition

A Co Antrim teen has been crowned overall winner of the 70th Texaco Children’s Art Competition.

Methodist College Belfast student Charley Bell, 17, also took first prize in the 16-18 year old category.

Ms Bell receives €1,500 for her winning work entitled ‘Anticipation’ – a detailed portrait in coloured pencils.

Final Adjudicator and Chairman of the judging panel, Gary Granville, Professor Emeritus of Education at the National College of Art and Design, described Charley’s artwork as “an exceptionally well executed portrait, that tells of an ‘aged serenity’, of a full life with a wealth of experience and wisdom”.

“There is a subversive energy, irrepressible optimism and underlying joy in the image that belies the stereotypical portrayal of aging,” Professor Granville said.

“This wonderful work of art well-deserves the top award in this year’s Texaco Children’s Art Competition.”

Ms Bell was also overall competition winner last year and won Special Merit Awards in 2020 and 2021.

The inspiration for her prize-winning portrait came when she discovered a photo of an old woman and felt the emotion in her face would be fascinating to bring to life.

“I like working with portraits and when I saw this photo the detailed expression on the woman’s face jumped out at me immediately,” Ms Bell said.

“I knew it would be a challenging and interesting artwork to take on.”

‘Man to Machine’ by Donegal student Weronika Jarowinska

Donegal student Weronika Jarowinska, 16, a pupil at Loreto Secondary School Letterkenny, won second prize in the 16-18 year old category, taking home €1,000 for her work entitled ‘Man to Machine’.

Ms Bell and others fought off competition from young artists across Ireland.

Among them are the first, second and third place winners – and the 15 special merit awards – in seven categories, including a category reserved for special needs children.

‘The Wren’s Nest’ by James Moonan, 18, from The Arthouse, Drogheda

James Twohig, Director of Ireland Operations at Valero Energy (Ireland) – the company that markets fuel in Ireland under the Texaco brand – thanked parents, families and teachers who “encourage children to see in art an outlet through which to demonstrate their individuality and unique talent and ability”.

“Despite the many worldly attractions and devices that vie for the attention of today’s youth, it is extremely gratifying to know that many continue to show an enduring interest in art and to demonstrate their ability in the magnificent prize-winning entries we see today,” he said.

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