Laois primary student Kiran Fatima, from St Paul's NS in Mountmellick, has been selected as one of Ireland’s best young painters in the Sightsavers Junior Painters Awards 2017.
Kiran paintied a pair of glasses with a flying fairy in one lens, and her school in the other, inspired by this year’s theme “Framing the Future”.
“I drew a flying fairy because I really want to see a fairy,” she told the Leinster Express.
Kiran from Portlaoise uses a wheelchair, and was one of three winners nationwide in the special needs category.
Last Thursday with her mother Rukhsana, sister Asiya and auntie Mahek, and resource teacher Linda Onions, she went to the Science Gallery in Trinity for the final, seeing her painting on display.
“I really liked it, I was never there before, it was lovely to see all the other paintings,” said Kiran.
She was presented with a certificate and an artpack sponsored by ReCreate.
Principal Serena Senior said the whole school community is proud of her.
“We are absolutely thrilled for her, she is a great artist,” she said.
The small Church of Ireland school enters the Sightsavers competition each year, and has won twice, and had two highly commended.
“It creates a great awareness of how grateful we should be for our sight. So many countries have levels of blindness that could easily be cured at a low cost, like river blindness,” Ms Senior said.
Thousands of children from over 200 primary schools entered the Sightsavers Junior Painter Awards, which aims to embrace creativity while educating on its work to prevent and cure blindness in developing countries, and promoting equal rights for people with disabilities.
The judges were Emmy-award winning costume designer Joan Bergin, Children’s Laureate PJ Lynch, and director of Arts and Disability Ireland Padraig Naughton, who praised the “expressive colour and detail” in the paintings.
Catrina Sheridan is Sightsavers CEO.
“Irish children are caring and compassionate. This competition allows us to teach them about the value of sight and how some children living with blindness in developing countries don’t always have the opportunity to go to school like they do. Congratulations to all of the winners,” she said.
The competition is sponsored by The Irish Times and ReCreate. The top four finalists won cash for their schools, and the 15 finalists will be exhibited in Powerscourt Townhouse Centre from July 1 to August 5.