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London – Clara Drummond was the winner of the BP Portrait Award 2016 at the National Portrait Gallery. In its 27th year of BP’s sponsorship, the esteemed first prize has been awarded to Clara Drummond, a 38-year-old Cambridgeshire-based artist, for “Girl in a Liberty Dress”, a striking portrait of her friend and fellow artist Kirsty Buchanan. Clara Drummond won £30,000 and a commission, at the National Portrait Gallery Trustees’ discretion, worth £5,000.
Assertiveness is a typical British quality, as the icon of the bulldog well represents. It was the third time, in fact, Drummond presented a portrait painting of her friend Kirsty Buchanan. Drummond was selected for the BP Portrait Award in 2013 and 2014 for portraits of the same sitter, having previously been selected for the exhibition with different sitters in 2006 and 2009.
When Kirsty sat for Clara for this portrait she wore a vintage Liberty dress inspired by the fact that both artists were working on an exhibition at the time with the William Morris Society Archive. The judges were impressed by the portrait’s skilful execution and its subtle and enigmatic qualities.
The second prize of £10,000 went to Chinese artist Bo Wang, 34, for “Silence”, a portrait depicting his grandmother lying on her hospital bed a month before she died. His portrait depicts his grandmother lying on the hospital bed a month before she died, while she was in the terminal stages of cancer and losing her ability to speak. Chinese artist
Bo Wang is a lecturer at Suzhou University of Science and Technology in Jiangsu. He studied at the Ilia Repin St Petersburg Academic Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture and has exhibited at the National Art Museum of China, in Beijing, and the Xinjiang International Exhibition Centre.
The third prize of £8,000 went to artist Benjamin Sullivan, 39, for “Hugo”, a portrait of the poet Hugo Williams painted in the study of his Islington home. Grimsby-born, Benjamin Sullivan lives in Suffolk. He gained a BA (Hons) in Drawing and Painting from Edinburgh College of Art. His portrait of Hugo Williams was painted in the study of the poet’s Islington home and Sullivan says the sittings were ‘accompanied by, very loud, Elvis and early Cajun music’. The artist had been an admirer of Williams’s poetry, especially his Billy’s Rain collection, and after being introduced to him at a private view in 2014 by a friend, the poet Stephen Romer, Williams agreed to sit for a portrait.
The BP Young Artist Award of £7,000 for the work of a selected entrant aged between 18 and 30 has been won by British artist Jamie Coreth for “Dad Sculpting Me”. Jamie Coreth, 26, was born in London but brought up in Dorset and Wiltshire. He won for a portrait of his sculptor father, Mark Coreth, painted entirely from life over the course of a month in his sculpture studio. Jamie Coreth undertook a BA (Hons) degree in archaeology and anthropology at Keble College, Oxford before studying at the London Atelier of Representational Art and the Florence Academy of Art. His work has been seen in group exhibitions in London. As an ex-officer for the Blues and Royals, Mark Coreth is seen wearing his old tank boiler suit, which is covered, says the artist, in ‘great flecks of plaster from previous sculptural adventures’. Coreth says: ‘My father has influenced me greatly in my work and given that it is a relatively strange thing for a sculptor to raise a painter, I thought it could be an interesting father–son project to make portraits of one another at the same time.’
The BP Travel Award 2016 was won by Lithuanian artist Laura Guoke, who has been awarded £6,000. She presented a proposal to travel to Lesbos, one of the refugee camps in Greece. She plans to use sketches, photographs and filmed material to create large-format portraits of the most vulnerable refugees from Syria and the volunteers helping them.
Also on display was the work of the BP Travel Award 2015 winner, French artist Magali Cazo. She won for her proposal to travel to a community of bronze-smelters in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, West Africa. There she lived with and represented the artists, apprentices and labourers whose lives revolve around the foundry. Magali was inspired by the vivid colours of the landscape, the architecture and the clothes on a previous visit to Bobo-Dioulasso and has used the sketches made on that trip to develop a series of portraits on wood.
Taking decisions from original paintings, the Panel of Judges of the BP Portrait Award 2016 was formed by: Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London (Chair); Christopher Baker, Director, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh; Alan Hollinghurst, writer; Sarah Howgate, Senior Curator, Contemporary Collections, National Portrait Gallery, London; Jenny Saville, artist; Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts & Culture, BP.
The BP Travel Award 2016 was judged by Paul Moorhouse, Head of Collections Displays (Victorian to Contemporary) and Senior Curator of 20th Century Collections Curator, National Portrait Gallery, London; Richard Twose, artist and BP Portrait Award Second Prize winner in 2014, and Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts and Culture, BP.
The BP Portrait Award 2016 received 2,557 entries from 80 countries. Judged anonymously, 53 portraits have been selected for the exhibition.
The BP Portrait Award 2016 has been at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from 23rd June until 4th September 2016.