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The Venue

RDS Taylor Art Award

The premier award of the RDS Visual Art Awards is the RDS Taylor Art Prize which is currently valued at €10,000. Previous RDS Taylor Art Award winners (1878 - 2015) include Walter Osborne, Sir William Orpen, Seán Keating, Nora McGuinness and Louis le Brocquy alongside contemporary artists such as Eamon O'Kane, Dorothy Cross and James Hanley.

The Taylor Art Trust was formed in 1878 in response to the will of Captain George Archibald Taylor who died in 1854 leaving £2,000 for the “the promotion of art and industry in Ireland”. The executors of his will asked the RDS to manage the Trust, and the Taylor Art Awards were established in 1860 with the Trust finally formalised 18 years later.

The Taylor Art Award is given annually to a graduate of an Irish art college or an Irish art student graduating from an art college abroad to assist them with the development of their career as a visual artist. The Taylor Trust consists of four trustees who meet formally twice a year. Two are self-appointed as “descendants” of the original executors of the will of Captain Taylor. Two are recommended by the Council of the RDS. Decisions are made by all four trustees. The Trust is managed by the Trustees and the RDS provides administrative support. The accounts are independently audited annually.


Recent RDS Taylor Art Awards Winners

2019 Louise Wallace Limerick School of Art & Design
2018 Mary Sullivan DIT Dublin School of Creative Arts (Sherkin Island)
2017 Kevin O'Kelly National College of Art & Design
2016 Elaine Hoey National College of Art & Design

Louise Wallace graduated from the Limerick School of Art & Design with a degree in Photography and Lens Based Media. Earlier this year she won ‘Best Short Film’ at the Szczecin European Film Festival for ‘Cosmic Joe’.

Her winning piece was an installation called ‘Hidden in Hazel’ which was made in collaboration with men living off the grid in the Burren, Co. Clare. Documenting these people’s lives and desire to live an ‘analogue’ existence is reflected in the processes used by Louise in making the work – using film photography, 16mm film, and cassette tape to record interviews. Louise has always had a strong interest in photography and documentaries and aims to make work of an intimate nature creating human connection.


'At Home, At War' was a video sculpture by which Mary Sullivan linked the repetitive nature of domestic chores to the drill and precision of military discipline.


Kevin O'Kelly's paced the line between solitude and loneliness in his installation 'Something About the Way You Look'.


Elaine Hoey with her work 'The Weight of Water', an immersive animation through which she interrogated the refugee crisis.

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