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The Venue

11 October 2017

RDS Visual Art Awards Partner with Metropolis

  • Exhibition partners with Metropolis music and art festival
  • Best visual art graduates from end-of-year degree shows brought together at RDS Visual Art Awards
  • Prize fund of €27,000 – RDS Taylor Art Award worth €10,000

The shortlisted best visual art graduates of the year will exhibit at the 2017 RDS Visual Art Awards; there are 13 artists included in this year’s exhibition, whittled down from a longlist of 122. The winners of the €27,000 prize fund will be announced on Tuesday, October 24, and the exhibition will run Wednesday, October 25 – Monday, October 30 in the RDS Concert Hall. This is the second year of the revamped RDS Visual Art Awards, which follows a long-standing tradition of RDS support for emerging Irish artists that traces back to the 18th century.

Metropolis Partnership

In a new and exciting partnership for this year, the exhibition will also be on display for the second day of Metropolis, which takes place at the RDS over the bank holiday weekend, October 28-29. Speaking about the new venture, Will Rolfe, Metropolis programmer, said, “We are incredibly proud to be working alongside the RDS Visual Arts Programme by including this fantastic exhibition for our Sunday programme in this year’s Metropolis. Festival. Visual arts are very much at the core of what we want to bring to festival goers. We aim to support and celebrate the very best in Irish artists, and what better way to do that than to collaborate with the RDS on these prestigious awards!

Supporting the move, Michael Duffy CEO of the RDS said: “We were delighted with the response to the inaugural RDS Visual Art Awards last year and are looking forward to this year’s Awards, and in particular the partnership with Metropolis. Giving these young exhibiting artists exposure to as large an audience as possible is an important aspect of helping to develop their professional career, so we are delighted with the move.”

Exhibiting artists

The intersection of fake news, technology and politics is at the core of Elaine Hoey’s immersive virtual reality art work, Stranger than Fiction is Fact, which is included in this year’s exhibition. Elaine wrote much of the coding for the work herself, which is experienced through a headset and controlled by the viewer though a gaming controller. This virtual world is filled with reminders of the horrors and evil that exist in the real world. Elaine won the €10,000 RDS Taylor Art Award last year for her BA work The Weight of Water and entered this year with her MA show.

Kevin O’Kelly, highlights the sense of disconnection sometimes felt in contemporary society. Through his interactive art installation, Something About the Way You Look, Kevin asks us to reflect on our proximity to one another and the sense of disconnection sometimes experienced in modern urban living.

Another exhibitor reflecting upon society is Kevin Smith who is a performance artist and filmmaker. Love in Technicolour, Kevin explores the ritual and performance of masculinity through the language of film, examining the themes of love, identity and their role in the construction of ‘maleness’. Kevin’s poetry is the starting point for the work and his poems are used to narrate the film. Under the alias ‘Kojacque’, Kevin also performs hip-hop gigs around the country, including at this year’s Electric Picnic.

The above three exhibitors are just a sample of the great work on display this year, with ten other great artists from around the country involved in this year's Show. See full list below.

Opening Times & Tours

Sligo-based painter Nick Miller will curate this exhibition and there are many talks and tours running alongside the exhibition all of which are free-to-attend, but must be booked in advance:

  • Free curator tours of RDS Visual Art Awards Exhibition with Nick Miller, booking required, first-come first-served basis: October 25, 12.00pm & 3.00pm; October 26, 1.00pm; October 27, 1.00pm, RDS Concert Hall.
  • Free talk by Nick Miller, Encounter: Painting and the World as You Find It, on his own work as part of the RDS Library Speaker Series, October 26 at 6.30pm, RDS Library.

Opening times vary each day, see www.rds.ie/visualart for details.

Competition & Awards

Nick Miller was also part of the judging panel that selected the final exhibitors from a long list of artists. This long list was chosen by a team of independent curators engaged by the RDS to view the end of year BA and MA degrees shows around the country. The judging panel will also select the prize winners of the €27,000 prize fund from the thirteen exhibiting artists. Other judges include:

  • Noel Kelly - Chair of the Judging Panel, CEO of Visual Artists Ireland
  • Seán Kissane – Senior Curator, IMMA
  • Colin Martin – Professional artist & RHA Head of School
  • Lesley Tully – Board Member, National Gallery of Ireland

The premier award of the RDS Visual Art Awards is the RDS Taylor Art Prize which is currently valued at €10,000 and has been awarded since 1878. Previous RDS Taylor Art Award winners include Walter Osborne, Sir William Orpen, Seán Keating, Nora McGuinness and Louis le Brocquy alongside contemporary artists such as Eamon O'Kane, Dorothy Cross and James Hanley. The RDS arts work programme is an important part of how the RDS fulfils its philanthropic mission to see Ireland thrive culturally and economically.

Exhibiting at 2017 RDS Visual Art Awards Exhibition will be:



DIT Dublin School of Creative Arts



Belfast School of Art



Galway Mayo Institute of Technology



Belfast School of Art



National College of Art & Design



CIT Crawford School of Art



National College of Art & Design



National College of Art & Design



Sligo Institute of Technology



National College of Art & Design



National College of Art & Design



Belfast School of Art



DIT Dublin School of Creative Arts

Further information, including opening times:


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