Colour photograph portrait by artist Mandy O'Neill showing teenage girl in school uniform against a pale blue background.
Mandy O’Neill (b. 1968), Diane, Larkin Community College, 2018. © Mandy O’Neill.Credit

Mandy O’Neill: Winner of the Zurich Portrait Prize 2018

Diane, Larkin Community College, 2018

Photograph, 80 x 60 cm

"My portrait of Diane is part of an ongoing body of work developed as Artist in Residence 2017-2018 at Larkin Community College, Dublin, and supported by the Arts Council of Ireland. Diane was a senior at the school when this photograph was made, with just a few months left of her secondary education. Much of my work has alluded to states of transition and there is a sense in this image of being ‘on the cusp’ and in that space between adolescence and adulthood.

The photographic portrait is very much central to my practice and I have a particular interest in the relationship between photographer and subject and the power dynamics involved. This image of Diane shows a self-possessed and strong young woman, who is very much holding the power in her gaze. I knew when I made this photograph that while a number of factors made it a compelling portrait, it also had that intangible element that draws you in and resonates in a way that is inexplicable."

Mandy O’Neill is a visual artist based in Dublin. Her photographic practice draws on themes of youth, adolescence, community, environment and institutions. She has an MA in Public Culture Studies from IADT and a BA in Photography from DIT. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the National Gallery of Ireland, the RHA, VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art Carlow, CCI Paris, CFEVA Philadelphia. She has been shortlisted for the Hennessy Portrait Prize and the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards and her work is represented in public and private collections. She has received grants from the Arts Council of Ireland and Culture Ireland.


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