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Arts Council Honours leading Northern Irish Artists

Wednesday 26th October 2005 at 2pm 0 Comments

Medbh McGuckian Image: Medbh McGuckian

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has honoured three of the region’s top artists with major awards of £15,000 each. The annual awards acknowledge the contribution made by the artists to the arts scene in Northern Ireland and help them develop ambitious work which will enhance their reputation and further their careers.

Celebrated Belfast Poet Medbh McGuckian, who has been at the forefront of Irish poetry for more than 25 years, received one of the awards.

Amongst Medbh’s internationally acclaimed publications are The Flower MasterOn Ballycastle Beach and TheBook of the Angel. The award will not only enable her to go on a research trip to Italy, but it will also make it possible for her to publish two new volumes of poetry. One of these volumes will explore the history and experience of women, the other will discuss the nature of poetry itself. The publishing of the books promises to be of high significance to Irish literature.

Photographer Mary McIntyre, who lectures at the University of Ulster’s School of Art and Design, received her award to help her create a substantial new body of work.

The work will investigate how mundane suburban landscapes can be transformed into something more dramatic at night. Mary will photograph a number of sites throughout Ireland and the UK in the forthcoming year.

Artist Dougal MacKenzie, originally from Scotland has always supported his painting practice through teaching, however the Arts Council award will supplement his income and allow him to teach only part-time.

This leaves him free to explore his interest in curatorship and to devote an extended period of time to personal studio work based on the history of countries in the Eastern Bloc. This work will result in exhibition opportunities nationally and internationally.

Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Roisín McDonough, welcomed the good news. “ The potential of the award to help artists develop was of key consideration when choosing this year’s recipients. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is confident that the chosen artists will benefit tremendously and we look forward to following their future successes.”

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