Zurich Portrait Prize 2022: David Booth wins €20,000 award

Meilin Ava Song, a 13-year-old from Dublin, has been named winner of this year’s Zurich Young Portrait Prize

The Dublin artist David Booth has been announced as the winner of the National Gallery of Ireland’s Zurich Portrait Prize 2022 for his painting Salvatore, 2021.

Booth’s painting, a portrait in oil on board of the artist Salvatore of Lucan, was unveiled as the winner on Tuesday at a ceremony at the gallery, on Merrion Square in Dublin.

The artist wins €15,000 and a commission worth €5,000 to produce a new work for the National Portrait Collection.

Booth, whose primary focus is on painting and drawing, has been working as an artist full-time for almost eight years, during which time he has exhibited both nationally and internationally.


He featured previously in the Zurich Portrait Prize in 2018 and 2020, and in 2019 he was an exhibited artist at the BP Portrait Award in London.

Salvatore of Lucan won the competition in 2021 for his painting Me Ma Healing Me. “I spotted Sal one morning while in the studio,” Booth says. “He was suited in a brilliant red Adidas one-piece tracksuit, his hair jet-black, and his pointed features solemn and reflective. I sat Sal down and took his picture. The life of an artist is characterised by intense ambitions and doubts. With this portrait I wanted to convey this, and the way in which Sal is resting into contemplation.”

Twenty-six artists were shortlisted for this year’s award. The judges were the artists Diana Copperwhite and Nick Miller and the director and chief curator of the Butler Gallery, in Kilkenny, Anna O’Sullivan.

Cara Rose and Gavin Leane, both from Dublin, were highly commended for their work; they receive €1,500 each for their respective portraits, Double Self Portrait, 2021, in coloured pencil on paper, and Several Days Hence, 2022, a photograph.

Cara Rose's painting Double Self Portrait, 2021
Gavin Leane's portrait Several Days Hence, 2022

New Beginning, 2022, a painting on canvas by 13-year-old Meilin Ava Song, from Dublin, was named the overall winner of the Zurich Young Portrait Prize. Song was awarded €500 plus art materials.

The young artist’s painting portrays her mother enjoying the sunshine in their garden during the summer. “The bold blocks of colour reminded me of my mother’s confident and bright personality,” Song says.

New Beginning, 2022, a painting on canvas by Meilin Ava Song

The shortlisted works for both competitions are on display at the National Gallery of Ireland until April 2nd, 2023. The exhibition will then be on display at the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, between June 3rd and September 2nd, 2023.