Visual artist Kevin Gaffney was last night named the Irish winner of the Sky Academy arts scholarship.
The 28-year-old Dublin artist, who works in photography and film, will receive £30,000 (€38,000) towards the development of an artistic project and the cost of living for one year, along with mentoring from Sky and the arts industry.
Gaffney’s work has been shown in exhibitions and film festivals internationally, including the Sapporo International Art Festival (Japan, 2014) and the Poetry Project at the Royal Hibernian Academy (Dublin, 2013). For his Sky Academy arts scholarship project, he plans to create and exhibit a new body of work titled ‘Tectonic Plates of Conversion,’ exploring areas of forgotten industries that remain as specters on the Irish landscape.
The scholarships are intended to help young artists across Ireland and the UK to develop their creative practice and take their work to the next level. This year, four scholarships were awarded in the UK, and one was awarded exclusively to an Irish applicant.
The other Sky Academy arts scholars 2015 are Sarah Maple, Adebayo Fakos, Jonnie Bayfield and Anisa Haghdadi.
As well as the five scholarship winners, seven UK artists and five Irish artists were named as finalists, and a further 25 applicants across the UK and Ireland were highly commended.
Now in their fourth year, the scholarships have supported 20 young artists across a range of creative disciplines. According to Sky, over 1,000 applications were received.
“Kevin’s work is bold, brave and unusual – he is an artist working with tremendous insight, powerful images, and personal context to create stunning video and art works in Ireland and abroad,” said Kris Nelson, director of the Tiger Dublin Fringe and ambassador for the Irish scholarship. “I’m sure that the Sky Academy arts scholarship will help him take his projects to the next level, fostering new collaborations and a higher profile for his work.”
“Sky Academy is all about helping young people fulfill their potential, and so we are thrilled to continue our support of emerging artistic talent with this arts scholarship,” said Sky Ireland director of corporate affairs, Mark Deering. “The standard of entries and the caliber of finalists was extremely high, and I’d like to congratulate Kevin on winning.
“He joins our existing TV scholar, Carly Matthews-Lynch who is studying at the National Film School at IADT, and our sports scholar, 800m athlete Mark English, both of whom are benefiting from the support of Sky Academy to enable them to reach their potential in their chosen fields.”