Naoise is big in Ja­pan!

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS - By CATHY LEE

STU­DENT artist Naoise Hen­nessy (16) from Craan­ford, Gorey has had a very busy few months since she won the Tex­aco Chil­dren’s Art Com­pe­ti­tion in April with her mas­ter­piece ‘Life­lines,’ and she has just re­turned from a trip of a life­time in Ja­pan.

Naoise’s art­work was dis­played in Tokyo’s Na­tional Art Cen­tre at spe­cial ex­hi­bi­tion, the In­ter­na­tional High School Arts Fes­ti­val and she vis­ited the city along with her mother Maria on in­vi­ta­tion from Ja­pan’s In­ter­na­tional Foun­da­tion for Arts and Cul­ture (IFAC).

Naoise’s ‘Life­lines,’ which had been on dis­play most re­cently at Gorey Li­brary dur­ing the Mar­ket House Fes­ti­val, was placed along­side some 400 other art­works by stu­dents world­wide.

Naoise’s mother Marie, who is a li­brar­ian at Carnew Li­brary, said that she was very proud of her daugh­ter for rep­re­sent­ing her coun­try in­ter­na­tion­ally.

‘Naoise has cer­tainly had a great time this sum­mer. We didn’t re­alise there would be so much in­volved from win­ning the Tex­aco art com­pe­ti­tion. Go­ing to Ja­pan was like a dream come true for us. It was re­ally spe­cial but a bit sur­real, we couldn’t be­lieve we were there at the Ritz Carl­ton in Tokyo.

‘We were taken on site see­ing tours, we were well fed and just treated so nicely and with such wel­come by ev­ery­one. It was un­be­liev­able,’ said Marie Hen­nessy.

Naoise starts back into fifth year at Coláiste Bhríde, Carnew in Septem­ber but she says she will keep up her art along­side her Leav­ing Cer­tifi­cate stud­ies.

‘Win­ning and be­ing part of the Tex­aco Art com­pe­ti­tion has given me a lot more op­por­tu­ni­ties. It has boosted my con­fi­dence, es­pe­cially with pub­lic speak­ing as I had never done that be­fore. It has been a very busy sum­mer but I want to thank my par­ents Marie and Christy for sup­port­ing me, and all at the Ja­pa­nese IFAC and Tex­aco for their help,’ she said.

‘Ja­pan was fan­tas­tic. I was sur­prised by the peo­ple be­ing so nice, re­spect­ful and wel­com­ing. Ja­pan’s art scene was some­thing on a higher level than I’ve seen be­fore, it was amaz­ing. I will have to fo­cus on my Leav­ing Cert now in fifth year, but I’ll con­tinue my art work’.

To those think­ing of tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from Naoise and en­ter­ing the com­pe­ti­tion next year, Naoise says go right ahead.

‘I’d say to those think­ing about it, give it your all be­cause you never know what might hap­pen. This was my first time to en­ter and I didn’t know it would turn out this way. I’ve had so many new op­por­tu­ni­ties since, like rais­ing a flag at my old school Bal­lyel­lis Na­tional School,’ she said.

As well as her re­cent trip to Ja­pan, Naoise took home a cash prize of €1,500 back in April.

Naoise Hen­nessy with her win­ning por­trait dur­ing her visit to Ja­pan along­side some new friends.

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