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Helen Cantwell & Bernie Hennessy Student of the Year Exhibition. 26 January - 18 February. Opening Reception Thursday 26 January 5.30 - 7.30pm at the Lavitt Gallery, Wandsford Quay

23 January 2023

Helen Cantwell & Bernie Hennessy recipients of 2022 Roberts Nathan Student of the Year Award

26 January – 18 February
Opening reception Thursday 26 January 5.30-7.30pm



The Lavit Gallery are delighted to present Helen Cantwell and Bernie Hennessy, joint recipients of the 2022 Roberts Nathan Student of the Year Award. This is an annual award given to one or more graduates of MTU Crawford College of Art & Design. In addition to an exhibition at Lavit Gallery both artists receive a cash prize of €500 kindly sponsored by Roberts Nathan Accountants, Cork.

The Student of the Year Award was initiated in 1967 by Cork Arts Society, now trading as Lavit Gallery, with sculptor John Burke as the first recipient and subsequent awardees including Maud Cotter, Eilis O’Connell and Vivienne Roche. Initially the award was solely a cash prize but it later evolved to include an exhibition once a gallery had been established. More recent recipients of the award include Stephen Doyle, Orlagh O’Byne, Padraic Barrett and Deirdre Frost.

In June 2022 the newly appointed Director of Lavit Gallery Brian Mac Domhnaill and board members Ellen Barrett and Cassandra Eustace selected Helen Cantwell and Bernie Hennessy as a compatible pairing given the contemporaneity of their respective concerns and the complimentary and contrasting qualities of the materials being used.

Helen Cantwell is a Fine Art graduate exploring advertising culture, crowd manipulation, social media streams and their impact on the identities and psyches of a generation raised online. Working in expanded image making, her practice combines moving image and materials such as acrylic and steel to emulate advertisement, internet and screen media aesthetics. Bernie Hennessy is a Contemporary Applied Art graduate who combines porcelain paperclay and Marino fleece to create sculptural objects that reference the effects of global warming, specifically coral bleaching.

This exhibition marks the beginning of Lavit Gallery’s 60th anniversary programme, Cork Arts Society having been founded in 1963.