Tipperary's Benjamin Franklin honoured at Sightsavers Junior Painter Awards

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Tipperary's Benjamin Franklin honoured at Sightsavers Junior Painter Awards

A Tipperary art student was one of 15 finalists honoured at a major awards ceremony in The Science Gallery, Dublin on Tuesday night for his entry in the Sightsavers Junior Painter Competition 2018.

Nine year old Benjamin Franklin from Shronell National School Lattin in County Tipperary was delighted to be at the awards ceremony where he was honoured as one of the 15 finalists of this year’s competition. Benjamin impressed the judging panel with his creation titled ‘Everyone can Participate.'

Competition was as strong as ever and this year’s theme ‘Put Us In The Picture’ inspired creative entries from hundreds of primary schools across the country.

Pic: (L-R) Third Place Winner – Tobiasz Rogolski (Age 12, Carrigtwohill Co.Cork) with art work called“The Horizan Horeyesan”, Second Place Winner – Ella Taylor (Age 8, Dundalk Co. Louth) with art work called "Climate Controller Station Bringing Fairness to all Nations”, Disability campaigner and little person Sinéad Burke (aka Minnie Melange) and First Place Winner – Patricia Poprawa (Age 12, Glenswilly Co. Donegal) with art work called“Draw Me In… I’m Waiting” today at the Ireland’s Best Young Artists Announced At Sightsavers Junior Painter Awards Ceremony. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

The judges tasked with the difficult job of choosing this year’s winners were disability campaigner and little person Sinéad Burke (aka Minnie Melange), Laureate na nÓg and illustrator PJ Lynch, and artist and director of Arts and Disability Ireland Padraig Naughton. 

Sinéad Burke commented: “In the year that Ireland will ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, it was inspiring to see the appetite that children, teachers and communities have in exploring the nuanced conversation surrounding disability. I was incredibly impressed by the children's pairing of artistry and intellect as they approached complex topics including identity, the social model of disability, allyship and othering. However, I was most moved and inspired by how their work was rooted in empathy and that even the youngest of entries were focused on constructive solutions to how we can make the world a fairer and equal place for all.”

The annual Junior Painter Awards competition was devised by Sightsavers to inspire Irish children to express their artistic talent through painting, whilst developing an appreciation of the importance and value of their sight and the additional challenges facing those living with visual impairment in developing countries.

Speaking about the competition, Olivia Lally, Sightsavers Junior Painter Awards Coordinator said: “This year we saw so many inspiring and creative entries. It was clear that all of the children carefully considered the theme ‘Put Us In The Picture’and put a lot of thought and effort into their paintings. I would like to congratulate all who entered and also thank the many teachers and parents who offered their support. Working with primary schools across the country involves students and teachers in the invaluable work Sightsavers carries out – helping to prevent avoidable blindness and working for equality of opportunity for those living with a disability.”

The winning top three schools receive a cash prize for their schools, sponsored by The Book Centre and Barker and Jones