Milford artist shortlisted for Zurich young portrait prize 2020

Artist uses a mix of poetry, science, art and technology in amazing eye-catching production

Staff Reporter


Staff Reporter


Milford artist shortlisted for Zurich young portrait prize 2020

Donegal artist, Alannah Ferry, 18, has been shortlisted for the Zurich Young Portrait Prize 2020 at the National Gallery of Ireland, for her artwork Portrait of The Pandemic.

Selected from more than one thousand entries, the shortlists of both the 2020 Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize have recently been announced by the National Gallery of Ireland.

Twenty-six artists, working across a variety of different media, have made it through to the final stage of the Zurich Portrait Prize, while 20 young artists aged between three and eighteen years old have been shortlisted for the Zurich Young Portrait Prize.

Alannah comprises scrap metal, solder, newspaper clippings printed during the covid-19 lockdown, pva glue, marbles, voice recorder chip, fishing wire, mask, steel wool, clay, nail polish and glitter on canvas in the making of her shortlisted artwork. 

She said: "After swapping from geography to art in my leaving cert cycle, I gained a large interest in art history. I then began painting with artist Maura Flanagan at the seomra dathana studio in Letterkenny Donegal - this was a catalyst to my art journey.

Alannah visited the National Gallery a number of times last year and was inspired by the large scale oil paintings.

I visited the Sorolla exhibition several times in the National Gallery of Ireland last year and became inspired by the large scale oil paintings. Alannah's preferred medium is oil. 

Having painted realistic landscape and portrait, a Picasso documentary inspired Alannah to experiment with other materials and break-away from her former style to try and convey the Pandemic and the manner in which it has affected our lives. "I thought simple forms and sad features convey the pain far more clearly and starkly than my typical medium," she said.

Being one of the few girls that studied technology for the leaving cert Alannah was adept at dealing with wires and gadgets and that inspired her to give the portrait a voice, literally. 

"I adore poetry and this year I wrote the “Sonnet Covid-19” poem for the voice of this portrait. Next year I hope to study architecture in the beautiful city of Belfast, which will combine my interest for art, technology, science and culture," she said.