The Trustees of the Golden Fleece Award are very pleased to announce that Cork-based multimedia artist Ailbhe Ní Bhriain is the winner of the 2020 Golden Fleece Award. She receives the main award, worth €15,000. Two Golden Fleece Special Awards are being presented to jeweller / silversmith Annemarie Reinhold (€10,000) and painter Kathy Tynan (€5,000). Visual artist Laura Fitzgerald and jeweller/engraver Pierce Healy were also shortlisted for the 2020 Award.
The 2020 Golden Fleece Award was to be presented at a ceremony at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Ely Place, on 25 March 2020, but due to the measures currently in place to help contain the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) the announcement is being made online instead. This year the Award attracted a record 215 applications from artists living in or originally from the island of Ireland.
Now in its nineteenth 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. This year’s prize fund of €30,000 makes the Golden Fleece Award the most generous art prize open to both visual artists and craft practitioners/makers in Ireland.
As part of the application process artists and makers 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 purchasing specialist materials, acquiring new studio space and tools or travelling abroad to learn new skills. This year there was a definite emphasis on applicants’ desire to buy themselves the time and space needed to sustain and develop their practices.
The Golden Fleece Award has established itself as one of the most central and supportive awards for artists and craftspeople at a pivotal moment of their careers. The standard of applications is outstanding and a tribute to the professionalism within the creative community. I would urge all that applied but were not shortlisted this year to continue to apply in the future. As I conclude my term as Chair of the Advisory Panel I want to express my thanks to my fellow panelists for their hard work and dedication and thank the Trustees for affording me the privilege to be involved with the Award. - Patrick T. Murphy, Golden Fleece Advisory Panel Chair and Director, RHA
The Trustees of the Golden Fleece Award were, once again, delighted by the ever-increasing number and high standard of applications received for the 2020 Award, both from the visual arts and craft and applied arts worlds. We are very grateful to all those involved with the Golden Fleece, particularly our Advisory Panel, chaired so ably and generously by Patrick T. Murphy over the last three years. We offer our heartiest congratulations to the recipients of the Award this year and also to all who were shortlisted. - Barbara Cotter, Chair of the Golden Fleece Award Board of Trustees