Healing art award shortlist announced at RHA show opening

Five artworks selected from 186th Annual Exhibition for new award

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The opening of this year’s RHA Annual Exhibition also saw the announcement of a shortlist for a new award: the RCSI Art Award.

Five artworks made the shortlist. The pieces were chosen from this year’s exhibition, which is now open to the public.

The shortlisted works are: The Wild Swans at Coole by John Behan; Une Femme et Un Homme by Liam Belton; Random Access Memory V by Remco De Fouw; Folded Triangle/ Circle by Joy Gerrard, in collaboration with One Off Design; and Soft-Kin by Richard Gorman.

The award celebrates the connection between art and healing, under the tagline “Medicine makes life possible, art makes it worthwhile”, as well as the common heritage between the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (RCSI) and the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA). Both are 32-county bodies with Georgian origins, and while the RCSI was occupied during the Easter rising, the RHA was destroyed, along with all the works in that year’s Annual Exhibition, in its former building on Lower Abbey Street.

The winner will be announced in May before the exhibition closes, and the recipient will receive €5,000, the RCSI silver medal and a commission to the value of €10,000 for a new work, which will be housed in the RCSI’s new building on York Street in Dublin. The award, which is supported by The Irish Times, will run for at least five years.

Speaking at the launch of the Annual Exhibition, president of the RCSI Declan J Magee, said: “We have a lot of art in the college but a lot of it is historical art. This competition gives us an opportunity to acknowledge current artists working in Ireland and enhance our own environment, in particular for the students and other visitors who come to the college.”

The 186th Annual Exhibition will run at the RHA until June. It features 567 works, selected by open submission. It features work by RHA members, established artists and new talent. This year’s RHA awards were also announced on Sunday, with more than €55,000 in prize money given to works selected at this year’s show.

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