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Taïm’s powerful artwork wins top prize in Ireland

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

“Follow your dreams,” is the advice Taïm Haimet has always given her daughter, Zia, who is now 13. And she led by example by going back to college when Zia was nine. Taïm, a single mother, who was born in France to Syrian parents, enrolled to study fine arts at ATU in Galway City, graduating earlier this year.  Last week, work from her graduation show won top prize at the 2023 RDS Visual Arts Awards Exhibition in Dublin.

This annual show celebrates emerging Irish artists, and Taïm received the RDS Taylor Award as the most promising emerging visual artist for 2023.

Representatives from the RDS visited the ATU students’ end-of-year show during the summer and picked Taïm’s installation for the prestigious exhibition.

In total, 109 artists were selected countrywide, with that initial selection being whittled down to 26. Finally, 15 were chosen to have their work shown in the exhibition, currently running in the West Wing Galleries at the Irish Museum of Modern art.

It includes pieces from Taïm’s ATU show, Barzakh, an installation inspired by what Taïm calls “the contemporary and timeless” stories of people crossing the sea, seeking refuge and a better life elsewhere.

In awarding her the top prize, the judges praised her “conceptually complete” work, describing it as “clear and resolved” as it addressed “pertinent issues in a deeply pertinent and visceral way”.

The RDS Taylor Art Award dates from 1860 and Taïm joins an impressive rollcall of winners that includes Dorothy Cross, Seán Keating, Mainie Jellett, Norah McGuinness, William Orpen and Walter Osbourne.

Pictured: Taïm Haimet’s work is about emigrants crossing the sea, seeking refuge in Europe. PHOTO LEON FARRELL/ PHOTOCALL IRELAND.

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