14-year-old Irish girl wins major art prize for masked portrait of sister titled 'Is this Normal?'
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14-year-old Irish girl wins major art prize for masked portrait of sister titled 'Is this Normal?'

IRELAND'S NATIONAL Gallery has announced the winners of this year's Zurich young portrait prize, and the talent showcased is breathtaking.

14-year-old Eva McParland was the overall winner of the young artist prize for her incredible portrait depicting her younger sister wearing a mask.

'Is this Normal? by Eva McParland (National Gallery)

Titled 'Is this Normal?', the coloured pencil portrait won Eva €500 along with high quality art materials to help her continue her passion for art.

The talented 14-year-old said "I love creating art that reflects current events.I hope that through my art I can compel viewers to see these events from a different perspective.

"In this portrait of my younger sister Ellen, I hope viewers will recognise how children are deeply affected by this pandemic. This will be an experience that stays with them forever. Being isolated from your friends for so long is not healthy. I want people to see this. I also hope to evoke thoughts about normality. Is the mask normal? Is there such a thing as normal?"

Other young Irish artists who received prizes for their work include Conor McPolin, aged 6, who won the 6 & under category for his self-portrait 'Conor'.

'Conor' by Conor McPolin (National Gallery)

"My name is Conor. I am 6 years old. I made a painting of me with big hair and escaping the coronavirus," the young artist wrote in his application.

10-year-old Jiayi Sun won the 7 - 11 category for her paint on canvas portrait 'Myself Eating Ice Cream'.

'Myself Eating Ice Cream' by Jiayi Sun (National Gallery)

"I have been learning how to paint for around six years," Jiayi wrote. "Although I’m not as excellent as the renowned artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Vincent Van Gogh, I enjoy the pleasure brought by painting, just like them. It also gives me a way of expressing feelings and thoughts towards this world."

An Zili Yang, 12, came out on top in the 12-15 category for her canvas 'A Girl In Silence'.

'A Girl in Silence' by Zili Yang (National Gallery)

Describing her artwork, self-described extrovert Zili said: "One day when I sat in the back garden and enjoyed freeing my imagination, my mum took a photo of me in that moment. She thought this showed another side of me. I felt that it would be interesting and meaningful to paint this and show the people around me a different me."

JohnLuka Doherty, aged 17, won in the 16-19 category for his portrait of his school basketball coach Joey.

"" 'Joey' by JohnLuka Doherty (National Gallery)

Created using acrylic, pencil and pen on cardboard, the young artist said "I am going into sixth year. I am planning on going to art college next year. This portrait is of my school basketball coach Joey Boylan.

"He is usually a quiet man but sometimes on the courtside he explodes with passion for the game. I wanted to show his quiet intensity."

You can find all the winners of the National Gallery's Zurich portrait competition on the National Gallery website here.