Magazine of art press and reviews from London
David Franchi – Monday, 23rd May 2016.
It has been a fascinating exhibition the 2016 Emerald Winter Pride Art Awards, at the Islington Arts Factory, London.
Themed ‘Line of Beauty – exploring sexuality, gender and identity’, the exhibition, presented at the Islington Arts Factory, had proclaimed the London resident Rosso as the artist winner for the 2016 Emerald Winter Pride Art Awards.
Of Italian origins, Rosso has been living in London since 2004. She moved to study international relations and human rights. In 2012, she started her painting career full time. She was awarded with a trophy and £1,000 Prize Money for her self-portrait ‘Madame Moustache’.
Rosso explains: “I’m happy and proud to participate to this exhibition. I very much appreciated the opening of the Award to all artists of any sexual orientation. It gave to many of us the opportunity to publicly support the movement of LGBTQ equality and against discrimination. This painting is born from one of those moments of instant and transitory creativity. I had just shaved my hair for the first time in my life, both for aesthetic reasons but also, perhaps, as a gesture of liberation and emancipation. While I collected them from the ground I had this view of me lying naked in a manner similar to the classic Renaissance representations – the closest example is the Venus of Titian – but with a moustache: as a kind of mockery of the prevailing machismo in the representations of female nudity over the centuries. At Titian, in the end, I preferred the Olympia by Manet, since, even though it was inspired by the great Renaissance master, even that picture (Olympia) possessed a rebellious nature and breaking towards the idealisation of women in art.”
The standard for the 2016 competition was remarkably high but the selection panel unanimously appointed the exceptional work of Rosso. Olympia was a real woman who in 1865 shocked the strongly conformist audience – she had a challenging approach and overcome the tradition to represent a woman as an idol. ‘Madame Moustache’ examines the current perception of beauty that comes from traditional gender classifications.
The Emerald Winter Pride Art Awards promotes and supports artists regardless of their sexuality. The selection panel is made up of arts industry professionals, comprising Royal sculptor Frances Segleman, artist and arts promoter Simon Tarrant, Islington Arts Factory Director of Visual Art Eleanor Pearce, freelance art writer and editor Anna McNay and philosopher and writer Daniel Barnes.
At the packed opening evening, the inaugural speech was made by human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who said: “The Emerald Winter Pride Art Awards is an example of how art can help shape people’s attitudes towards the LGBT+ community. Don’t accept the world as it is. Dream about what the world could be – then help make it happen.”
The opening evening also included LGBT Poet Laureate Trudy Howson poetry recital and a magnetic live performance by celebrated classical trio the Korros Ensemble, who performed music by Argentinean Tango compose
r Piazzolla, accompanied by Taste of Tango dancers from Debbie Moore’s legendary Pineapple Dance Studios.
The 2016 Emerald Winter Pride Art Awards showcased the work of 30 Exhibitors and 5 Featured Artists. The other Art Awards Finalists were Aleksandra Karpowicz; Emily Tull; Matthew Stradling; and Nicolas Laborie.
The list of Runners-Up include André Azevedo; Antonio De Pasquale; Azara Meghie; Becky Boston; Charan Singh; Conor Collins; Dee Stanford; Dew Kim; Heather Carol; Holly Brodie; Ignacio Miranda; Iluá Hauck da Silva; INK; Louisa Holecz; Nic Humphries; Red Pig Flower; Roxana Halls; Sadie Lee; Simon Croft; The DNA Factory; and Thion.
Featured artists were: Jo Wise, Jade Soar, Asiko; Jane Moore; Layer; Bronac Mc Neill; and Stephanie Griffiths.
2016 Emerald Winter Pride Art Awards was supported by Emerald Life, the UK’s premiere insurance supplier tailored for the gay and lesbian community. Barefoot Wine sponsored the wine for the Art Awards.
CASS Art Islington sponsored an LGBT+ life drawing workshop exploring the concept of beauty, sexuality, gender and identity at the Islington Arts Factory, tutored by artist Jane Moore.
For the first time the Emerald Winter Pride Art Awards introduced a series of works developed by students from Middlesex School of Art and Design who have participated in workshops on gender identity and sexuality politics.
The 2016 Emerald Winter Pride Art Awards exhibition was at the Islington Arts Factory, London, from 15th until 29th April 2016.