The Trustees of the Golden Fleece Award are delighted to announce the shortlist of artists and makers qualifying for the 2021 Award. Those shortlisted are: Aideen Barry (multimedia / sculpture / installation), Bassam Al-Sabah (multimedia / CGI filmmaking), Fiona Byrne (glass), Izzy O'Reilly (fashion design), Jennifer Hickey (ceramic sculpture), Laura Fitzgerald (painting / installation / video), Lorna Donlon (tapestry weaving / collage / installation), Maria McKinney (sculpture / multimedia), Sinead O'Dwyer (fashion design / textiles) and Tamsin Snow (sculpture / installation, CGI filmmaking).
To celebrate the Golden Fleece Trust’s 20th anniversary and in recognition of the exceptional challenges faced by creative practitioners in the past year, the prize fund for 2021 has been increased to €60,000, making the Golden Fleece Award one of the most generous art prizes in Ireland. This increase in the value of the Award has been made possible through a very generous bequest to the Trust by the Estate of Seán Mulcahy, whose father - General Richard Mulcahy - invited the Golden Fleece Award's founder Lillias Mitchell to establish a Department of Weaving at the National College of Art & Design while he was Minister for Education in the 1950s. Of the ten artists shortlisted, six will receive an Award of €10,000 each.
In place of the annual Award Ceremony at the Royal Hibernian Academy, winners will be announced online at the end of March. Please check the Golden Fleece Award website and social media for details closer to the time.
The Golden Fleece is one of the most supportive awards for emerging and established artists and craftspeople at pivotal moments of their careers. In recognition of the Golden Fleece’s 20th Anniversary in 2021, the fund is equally distributed between six applicants. This is a substantial contribution to art and craft practitioners especially in this exceptionally difficult time for the creative sector. The standard of applications this year was outstanding and a tribute to the professionalism within the creative sector. I would urge all that applied but were not winners this year to continue to apply in the future.
- Angela O'Kelly, Golden Fleece Award Advisory Panel Chair.
Now in its twentieth year, the Golden Fleece Award was initially restricted to craft and figurative visual art. In 2018 the criteria were broadened to include artists working across all forms of visual, craft and applied arts.
On applying, artists are asked to submit images of recent work along with a statement outlining how the Award would make a decisive difference to their careers. Past winners have cited needs varying from preparing for future exhibitions to developing their practice, acquiring new studio space and tools or travelling abroad to learn new skills.
The award was established as a charitable bequest by the late Helen Lillias Mitchell (1915-2000). The Golden Fleece Award is governed by a Board of Trustees which includes members of Lillias Mitchell's family, professional fund managers, consultants and arts professionals who work closely together to fulfil her wishes.
They are supported by a distinguished Advisory Panel whose knowledge and experience are invaluable in guiding the development of the award. This is made up of Angela O’Kelly (Panel Chair, jeweller and Head of Design for Body & Environment, NCAD); Ann Mulrooney (creative industries leader); Catherine Marshall (art historian, editor and curator); Dr Declan Long (art critic and Co-Director of the MA ‘Art in the Contemporary World’, NCAD); and Dr Audrey Whitty (Head of Collections and Learning, National Museum of Ireland).
To view images of shortlisted applicants' work and find out more about their practices, visit the 'Artists' section of our website.