TYDAVNET ART STUDENT VISITS JAPAN FOR EXHIBITION OF HER WINNING SELF-PORTRAIT
Michael Fisher Northern Standard Thursday 9th July
From sushi to sukiakki and tempura, temples and umbrellas: all these were part of short stay in Japan recently by 18 year-old Frances Treanor from Drumdart, Tydavnet. The trip to Tokyo to represent Ireland in an art exhibition was one of the prizes she received for coming first in the Texaco Children’s Art competition in May, along with a cheque for €1500. Her self-portrait drawing done in black ballpoint pen was part of the 16th International High School Arts Festival along with some other Texaco award winners. Around 400 works from fourteen other countries were included at the exhibition, namely Japan, Israel, Indonesia, Egypt, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Benin, Myanmar, Laos and Russia.
Frances was the guest of Japan’s International Foundation for Arts and Culture and was accompanied by her father, Sean. The exhibition ran from June 24th to July 5th at Japan’s largest art museum, the National Art Centre. Back at her home in Tydavnet she told me about her experiences in Japan, a country she said she would return to if she got a chance.
Her five days there introduced her to Japanese food such as tempura (fish and rice) for which chopsticks were used. She was served dishes of sushi and sukiakki and also got time to do some sightseeing. This included areas such as Harajuku, the Meiji shrine and Takeshita-dori street. She also visited a rural area a few hours outside Tokyo and saw a red panda being fed in the zoo. She noticed that the streets were very clean, as well as being busy and hectic. Everyone was carrying an umbrella, Frances told me, and there were special holders at the entrance to the museum where visitors could leave them.
The winning self portrait was completed by her in two weeks and was described by the chair of the judging panel, Professor Declan McGonagle, as having been executed “with the skill and delicacy of a master”. Frances featured among the prizewinners in 2012 when she won second place in her age category for her work “Lighting Up the Imagination”, which also featured in the Tokyo exhibition that year alongside a number of other winning Texaco Children’s Art paintings. She is one of seven children and is in her first year studying art at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, alongside her twin sister Maeve.
Described as a showcase for the world’s best young artistic talent, the purpose of the International Foundation for Arts and Culture event is to provide an international platform for young people to engage in their artistic exploration of the world and to nurture a broader understanding of the experiences and events that impact on the younger generation across different cultures. Some 10,000 students annually from different countries submit works to the festival.
At a reception attended by the Irish Ambassador to Japan, Anne Barrington, Frances had to speak about herself and her work. She said she was truly honoured to have had her self portrait selected for first prize in the Texaco Children’s Art. She said she felt privileged to have it exhibited on an international stage in Tokyo. She expressed her thanks to the Foundation of Arts and Culture for making it possible for her to be there to participate in such a prestigious event. She explained that for her self portrait she had chosen black ballpoint pen and that previously she had had very little experience of using this medium, therefore it was a particular challenge as every stroke she made was permanent. She said she had been pleased with the finished piece and as she had a keen interest in portrait art, this event had encouraged her to continue to perfect her skill. She conveyed her thanks to her friends and family, and to Texaco Art who had provided the platform for her to enter such a competition. Finally she thanked her art teachers at St Louis Secondary School in Monaghan, Teresa Mahony and Stephen Penders, who she said had always encouraged and developed her talent. Her next challenge, along with Maeve, is to design some artwork for the Tydavnet jamboree next month.