LOCAL Assembly members have been showing their artistic talents in the first ever exhibition of artwork by Northern Ireland MLAs.
With one overall winner, winners for each constituency and winners in the Best Poem, Best Painting and Best Photograph competitions, Alastair Ross’s sunset photo ‘Honeymoon’ took the constituency prize for East Antrim.
Photographic entries showing familiar East Antrim landscapes were also submitted by Roy Beggs and Stewart Dickson.
South Antrim MLA Danny Kinahan was overall winner with his work ‘A homage to Basil Blackshaw’ which also won Best Painting. Conall McDevitt MLA won Best Poem with his work ‘A Peloton of Hope’.
Thirty six MLAs – one third of those elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly – entered the competition with the forty-four entries going on display today and for the next week at Parliament Buildings. The competition, which is the first of its kind to take place in the UK or Ireland, was launched before the election and is set to take place at the beginning of each Assembly term from now on.
“We knew when we launched the competition that there was a hidden Heaney or a modest Monet and we’re really pleased with the results and today’s exhibition. This is a fun event with a serious message. Art belongs to the entire community and when The MAC is open it will put Belfast and Northern Ireland on the global arts stage,” said The MAC chief executive Anne McReynolds
“By entering this competition, the MLAs have shown by example that all of us can enjoy the arts and celebrate what The MAC has to offer. Our panel of judges, including Wendy Austin, Eamonn Mallie and Neil Shawcross were impressed with the high standard of work across the board. And who knows, the work of some of our winners could be hanging in Parliament Buildings for many years to come!,” she added.
Set to open in early 2011, The MAC will be in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter and will house two theatres, three major visual art galleries, a dance studio, education, workshop and rehearsal spaces, offices for resident arts groups, a resident artist and a café and bar.