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    This portrait of a mother practicing healing methods on her son is the winner of the National Gallery of Ireland’s Zurich Portrait Prize. Me Ma Healing Me by Salvatore of Lucan was announced this evening at a virtual ceremony. As well as a prize of €15,000, the artist, who is half Bangladeshi and half Irish, will receive a commission worth €5,000 to produce a new work for the National Portrait Collection. Salvatore of Lucan (b. 1994) creates large-scale works in an attempt to communicate a sense of the world he inhabits. Exploring home, identity and relationships, he creates expansive domestic scenes where the familiar approaches the magical. This is his third inclusion in the Zurich Portrait Prize. The artist explained:  “My mother practices sound healing and Reiki, and anytime I’m at home and feeling unwell, she offers to practice on me. I am a distant son and can be sceptical about some of the hippy stuff, but when her hands hover above me, I do feel my mother’s love, and am aware that she is trying to heal me. In making the painting I was inspired by the kind of uncanny, suspended feeling one finds in the alchemist paintings of Leonora Carrington.”

    Vanessa Jones and Tom McLean received highly commended prizes to the sum of €1,500 for their respective portraits, Cabbage Baby (self-portrait) and Note to Self. The judges were artist Eamonn Doyle, Róisín Kennedy, art critic and lecturer/assistant professor in the School of Art History & Cultural Policy, UCD and Seán Kissane, Curator at IMMA.

    An exhibition featuring the winning portrait alongside 23 other shortlisted works runs at the National Gallery of Ireland until next April 3 alongside the Zurich Young Portrait Prize exhibition of 20 shortlisted portraits. Both exhibitions will travel to Crawford Art Gallery in Cork in 2022. The overall winner of the Young Portrait Prize was Della Cowper-Gray, who is aged 14.

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