70th Texaco Children’s Art Competition winners announced

Young Antrim artist, Charley Bell, a 17-year-old student at Methodist College Belfast, has been chosen as the overall winner of this year’s 70th Texaco Children’s Art Competition, taking first prize in the senior 16-18 years age category. Her winning work, for which she receives a prize of €1,500, is entitled ‘Anticipation’ and is a painstakingly detailed portrait study in coloured pencils.

Texaco Children's Art Competition

Aged serenity

In choosing it as the winner, Final Adjudicator and Chairman of the judging panel, Gary Granville, Professor Emeritus of Education at the National College of Art and Design, described Charley’s artwork as “an exceptionally well executed portrait, that tells of an ‘aged serenity’, of a full life with a wealth of experience and wisdom.

“There is a subversive energy, irrepressible optimism and underlying joy in the image that belies the stereotypical portrayal of aging. This wonderful work of art well-deserves the top award in this year’s Texaco Children’s Art Competition.”

No stranger to the competition, Charley was also the overall winner last year, as well as winning Special Merit Awards in 2020 and 2021. The inspiration for her prize-winning portrait came when she discovered a photo of an old woman and felt the emotion in her face would be fascinating to bring to life. “I like working with portraits and when I saw this photo the detailed expression on the woman’s face jumped out at me immediately. I knew it would be a challenging and interesting artwork to take on,” Charley explains.

In winning the prestigious overall prize and first place in the Category A age group, Charley and her fellow winners fought off the challenge from the young artists across Ireland who took part in the competition. Amongst them are the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners and the fifteen Special Merit awards recipients in each of seven categories for which prizes are presented, including a category reserved for special needs children.

Love of art

Paying tribute to the young artists ‘whose imagination, creativity and love of art have been at the heart of the competition since its inception seven decades ago’, James Twohig, Director of Ireland Operations at Valero Energy (Ireland) Limited – the company that markets fuel in Ireland under the Texaco brand – expressed gratitude to the parents, families and teachers who “encourage children to see in art an outlet through which to demonstrate their individuality and unique talent and ability”.

 “Despite the many worldly attractions and devices that vie for the attention of today’s youth, it is extremely gratifying to know that many continue to show an enduring interest in art and to demonstrate their ability in the magnificent prize-winning entries we see today,” he said.