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UCD artist-in-residence Lorna Donlon wins Ireland's largest art prize

Posted 1 April, 2021

An artist-in-residence at University College Dublin has been awarded the Golden Fleece, the largest art prize open to artists in Ireland.

UCD Conway artist-in-residence Lorna Donlon was among six recipients of this year's award, each of whom will receive €10,000 to help advance their work.

“Each of the exemplary winners displayed very focused visions... [and] we look forward to seeing the results of the Award in the year ahead,” said Angela O'Kelly, Golden Fleece Award Advisory Panel Chair, and Head of Design for Body & Environment, NCAD.

Tapestry weaver and textile artist Lorna Donlon began a twelve month artist-in-residency programme in the UCD Conway Institute in 2020, in partnership with UCD Parity Studios and through funding from the Wellcome Trust.

Interested in the scientific practices of collecting, categorising, labelling and displaying objects, she is working closely with UCD Conway researchers on creating a new work to engage audiences about ongoing research.

As well as a tapestry weaver, textile and installation artist, Lorna is also recent graduate from UCD School of Biology & Environmental Science, where she studied molecular biology.

Among the other winners of the 2021 Awards was Maria McKinney, an UCD Associate Artists in Residence with the UCD College of Science.

Working through a range of media including sculpture, installation, photography and video, she has recently been focused on agriculture, primarily cattle breeding.

This has crossed over into research into the ongoing and deepening understanding of genetics, how this is being applied to livestock, and its wider societal implications.

Maria has collaborated with numerous farmers and geneticists, creating work that is closely influenced by what they do.

The annual Golden Fleece Award is the largest art prize open to artists and makers in Ireland 2021, and this year's awards marks its 20th anniversary following the establishment of the Award through the bequest of its founder, Lillias Mitchell.

The goal of the prize is to provide resources for Irish artists to innovate and develop their creative vision, and is open to artists working in all forms of visual, craft and applied arts. Previous winners include Seliena Coyle, Ursula Burke and Ailbhe Ní Bhriain.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations