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DIT Graduate Mary Sullivan wins 2018 RDS Taylor Art Award

Posted: 23 October, 2018

DIT Visual Art graduate, Mary Sullivan, has won the 2018 RDS Taylor Art Award of €10,000 for her BA work At Home, At War. Mary follows an illustrious roll-call of previous winners such as Harry Clarke, Seán Keating, Louis Le Brocquy, Dorothy Cross, Maria McKinney, Sam Keogh and many others.

Mary Sullivan is a graduate of the Dublin School of Creative Arts, Sherkin Island, where she received a first-class honours BA in Visual Art. Her RDS Taylor Art Award-winning installation entitled At Home, At War is a video sculpture piece linking the repetitive nature of domestic chores to the drill and precision of military discipline.

Mary constructed a life-size military ‘look-out’ blockhouse, which houses four video performances on four flat-screen televisions viewed through a peep hatch on each side. Mary recorded a series of performances in abandoned military sites on Bere Island, former home to a British navy base. Each task in the video works is undertaken with precision and care in an underground, windowless passageway. The scenes in the tunnel allude to suffocation and claustrophobia, as well as speaking back to Ireland’s colonial past and raising questions of the role of women in Irish society.

Speaking about the winning work, exhibition curator Amanda Coogan said: “Mary Sullivan’s installation was a unanimous choice by the judging panel for the RDS Taylor Art Award. She is an artist of immense integrity and has created a powerful installation that speaks to Ireland’s colonial past and in parallel explores the role of women in Ireland.”

The RDS Visual Art Awards Exhibition runs Tuesday, October 23 - Monday, October 29 with curator’s tours of the exhibition every day at 1.00pm.

About the RDS Taylor Art Award

The prestigious RDS Taylor Art Award has been presented by the RDS since 1860 and is one of the most important awards for emerging visual artists in Ireland today. Thirteen artists were selected by a judging panel of five for inclusion in the exhibition which is open free to the public and represents the best graduating visual artists of 2018. Earlier in the year, the RDS sent eight professional curators to visit the end of year BA, and MA degree shows in thirteen art colleges around the country. In total, they longlisted 121 graduates, who were invited to apply for the awards.