The DUP’s Willie Hay has been named Derry’s most creative MLA after taking the local honours in Stormont’s first ever art competition.
Organised by the Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) every MLA - including the six in Foyle - were asked to submit a self-taken photograph, drawing, painting or poem which represents their constituency, their personal passion or their politics.
Mr Hay, the Assembly’s speaker, took the Foyle constituency prize for his photograph ‘Assembly in Bilbao.’
The DUP man says his picture, which he shot while in Bilbao, reminded him of the Assembly logo.
The MAC Chief Executive Anne McReynolds says the competition is “a fun event with a serious message.”
“We knew when we launched the competition that there was a hidden Heaney or a modest Monet and we’re really pleased with the results and today’s exhibition.
“Art belongs to the entire community and when The MAC is open it will put Belfast and Northern Ireland on the global arts stage.
“By entering this competition, the MLAs have shown by example that all of us can enjoy the arts and celebrate what The MAC has to offer.
“Our panel of judges, including Wendy Austin, Eamonn Mallie and Neil Shawcross were impressed with the high standard of work across the board. And who knows, the work of some of our winners could be hanging in Parliament Buildings for many years to come.”
South Antrim MLA Danny Kinihan was overall winner of this year’s inaugral competition with his work ‘A homage to Basil Blackshaw’ which also won Best Painting. Conall McDevitt MLA won Best Poem with his work ‘A Peloton of Hope’.
Thirty six MLAs – one third of those elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly – entered the competition with the forty-four entries going on display today and for the next week at Parliament Buildings. The competition, which is the first of its kind to take place in the UK or Ireland, was launched before the election and is set to take place at the beginning of each Assembly term from now on.
Set to open in early 2011, The MAC will be in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter and will house two theatres, three major visual art galleries, a dance studio, education, workshop and rehearsal spaces, offices for resident arts groups, a resident artist and a café and bar.