Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Della wins prestigious Zurich Portrait prize

Della with her father Brad Gray, and her winning portrait of him.

Young Kilcullen artist Della Cowper-Gray has won this year's Zurich Young Portrait Prize at the National Gallery of Ireland, writes Brian Byrne. Her portrait  Painting in a different world now (My father The Artist) is of her father, a professional artist.

Della, aged 14, was one of three Kildare artists on the shortlist, which comprised entries from all over Ireland from artists between five and 18. There were five age grade winners, from which the overall winner was chosen.

Exhibitions of shortlisted works in both competitions will run at the National Gallery of Ireland between 13 November 2021 and 3 April 2022. The exhibition will travel to Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, where it will be displayed between 23 April and 17 July 2022.

Della also won first prize in the 13-15 category of the 'Draw Our Heroes' art competition, launched last year to have children memorialise the everyday heroes of the Covid-19 pandemic. Della chose Aideen Delahunt, the carer who came to her house during the first lockdown to care for her 91-year-old Grand-Uncle Amby.

In the 66th Texaco Children's Art Competition last year, Della — then a pupil at Scoil Bhride — was one of four Kildare child artists to win an award, for her portrait 'The Mighty Finn'.

In 2019 she won first prize in her age group in the Credit Union Schools Poster Competition. Also in 2019 she won the Brenda Scullion Memorial Trophy in the local Community Games Art Competition. In 2018 she was a silver medallist in the county final of the Community Games Art.

Della's 12-year-old sister Mae is also an accomplished artist, and her portrait of her best friend, Ella Browne, with the title ‘Missing Ella (Loneliness during Lockdown)’, won her a national category first prize in the 2021 Texaco Children’s Art Competition.

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