Iranian artist Azita Moradkhani has been announced as the winner of the Young Masters Art Prize and inaugural Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize, both generously supported by Dr Chris Blatchley. She was presented with her combined £3,000 prize at an award ceremony sponsored by Brownhill Insurance held this evening, Wednesday 21 June 2017, at Gallery 8 in London’s St James’s.
Moradkhani was chosen from a shortlist of 18 international artists for her delicately crafted drawings. The female body is central to her work and she uses beauty as her weapon to address complex socio-political issues. Her use of traditional techniques, skill and delicacy connect her work aesthetically to the art of the past.
Chair of the judges, art historian Godfrey Barker, comments: ‘The Young Masters Art Prize is a snapshot of contemporary art now. It had a huge number of entries from 55 countries, a vast majority of those from young or emerging artists. Two things we have never seen before: the prize has been overwhelmed by women (two thirds of the entries) and all nine of the awards have been given to women. Clearly this prize is now at the cutting edge, with an international emphasis that includes North America, Africa, the Middle East and the Islamic world.’
Cynthia Corbett comments: ‘We’re extremely excited about this year’s prize and winners. The additional strand of an emerging women’s prize has led to overwhelming interest from international female artists. The astounding quality of female applicants has meant that the judges have bestowed all the awards to women. I hope we can now look forward to a future of artistic meritocracy.’
Two Highly Commended Prizes of £500 courtesy of the Artists’ Collecting Society (ACS) were awarded to Laura Hospes and Tamara Al-Mashouk and a new ‘Be Smart About Art’ award worth £500 was awarded to Katie Spragg.
The judges were Godfrey Barker, Melanie Gerlis, Art Market Columnist at the Financial Times and Editor-at-large at The Art Newspaper; Daisy McMullan, Curator; Hannah Rothschild, writer, filmmaker and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery, London; Charles Saumarez Smith, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts and Jean Wainwright, Art Historian, Critic and Professor of Contemporary Art and Photography at the University for the Creative Arts.
Lucille Lewin has been announced as the winner of the £1,500 Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, which is supported by collector and philanthropist Maylis Grand. This strand of the Young Masters Art Prize was launched in 2014 to give a separate platform for ceramics and highlight the creative and innovative potential of this artistic medium. She was chosen from 10 shortlisted artists for her work that the judges described as ‘completely original’.
The judges, Janice Blackburn, former Curator of Arts and Crafts at Sotheby’s; collector Preston Fitzgerald; collector and philanthropist, Maylis Grand and the Crafts Council’s Daniella Wells, continued: ‘We were looking for originality and a strong voice and we were in total harmony about our choice of winner. Lucille’s work is experimental, beautifully made and totally original; this is work with a future.’
Lucille Lewin’s work is the result of research into the origins into 18th century European porcelain and the alchemists who invented it. Her pieces, which combine porcelain with other media including glass and salt crystals, reference the Victorian Cabinet of Curiosities and the early microscopic photographs of the natural world by Karl Blosfeldt. A £500 Highly Commended Prize was awarded to Lauren Nauman.
The inaugural Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize was introduced this year to profile and reward the work of an emerging female artist. In addition to the main prize given to Azita Moradkhani, two Highly Commended Prizes of £250 were awarded to Isabelle van Zeijl and Katie Spragg.
The Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize judges were Beth Colocci, Chair of the Trustees of UK Friends of the National Museum of Women in the Arts; Sylvie Gormezano, Chair of the Association of Women Art Dealers; award-winning designer and art collector Ronnette Riley, FAIA and Nadja Swarovski, Member of the Executive Board, Head of Corporate Branding and Communications and Chairperson of the Swarovski Foundation.
Young Masters Art Prize winners:
Azita Moradkhani, £2,000 main prize, thanks to Dr Chris Blatchley
Laura Hospes, £500 Highly Commended courtesy of the Artists’ Collecting Society
Tamara Al-Mashouk, £500 Highly Commended courtesy of the Artists’ Collecting Society
Katie Spragg, Be Smart About Art Award worth £500
Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize winners:
Lucille Lewin, £1,500 main prize, thanks to Maylis Grand
Lauren Nauman, £500 Highly Commended, thanks to Maylis Grand
Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize winners:
Azita Moradkhani, £1,000 main prize thanks, to Dr Chris Blatchley
Isabelle van Zeijl, £250 Highly Commended, thanks to Dr Chris Blatchley
Katie Spragg, £250 Highly Commended, thanks to Dr Chris Blatchley
Young Masters Art Prize Shortlist Exhibition at Gallery 8, 8 Duke Street, St James’s, London, SW1Y 6BN.
Exhibition runs until 24 June 2017
Public opening times: 11am to 7pm daily (or by appointment)
Nearest tubes: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus (St. James’s exit)
Featured Image: Azita Moradkhani, Not Too Far Away (Victorious Secrets), 2016, Coloured Pencils on Paper, 30.5 x 43.2 cm, (12 1/8 x 17 1/8 in). Courtesy Gallery Kayafas.