Third time's a charm for winning combination of artist and sitter

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Third time's a charm for winning combination of artist and sitter
Clara Drummond, Girl in a Liberty Dress, 2016. Oil on board, 260 x 370mm. First Prize in the BP Portrait Award 2016.



EDINBURGH.- An Edinburgh-born artist’s prize-winning entry in a prestigious worldwide portrait competition is on show in the capital for the first time this autumn, when the BP Portrait Award opened at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

The exhibition features 53 stand-out works from this year’s competition, selected from a total of 2,557 entries, submitted by artists from 80 countries which together represent the very best in contemporary portrait painting.

The 2016 winner of the BP Portrait Award’s prestigious first prize is 38-year-old, Clara Drummond, whose painting, Girl in a Liberty Dress is a striking portrait of her friend and fellow artist Kirsty Buchanan.

This is the third time that Clara has submitted a portrait of Kirsty for the Award (the first two were included in the 2013 and 2014 exhibitions) and she also made the selection in 2006 and 2009 with paintings of two different sitters.

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, including artist Jenny Saville and writer Alan Hollinghurst, were impressed by the portrait’s skilful execution and its subtle and enigmatic qualities. The artist, who is based in Cambridgeshire, was presented with a £30,000 prize and a commission, at the National Portrait Gallery Trustees’ discretion, worth £5,000.

The Award, now in its 37th year and 27th year of sponsorship by BP, is firmly established as one of the most prestigious international portrait competitions in the world and the £30,000 first prize fee is one of the largest for any global art competition.

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.

The judges found that Wang’s portrait was: “a moving and deeply affecting portrait.”

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, who lives in Suffolk, gained a BA (Hons) in Drawing and Painting from Edinburgh College of Art. His portrait of Hugo Williams, whose poetry he admired, was painted in the study of the poet’s Islington home.

Sullivan has been selected for display 12 times for the BP Portrait Award, in 2002, and every year from 2006 to 2015.

The £7000 BP Young Artist Award, which goes to a selected entrant aged between 18 and 30, has been won by British artist Jamie Coreth for Dad Sculpting Me.

The winner of the BP Travel Award 2016, an annual prize, which enables artists to work in a different environment on a project related to portraiture, was awarded to Lithuanian artist Laura Guoke, who won for her proposal to travel to a refugee camp 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. The prize of £6,000 is open to applications from any of this year’s BP Portrait Award exhibited artists, except the prize winners.

The work of the BP Travel Award 2015 winner, French artist Magali Cazo, is on display at this year’s exhibition. She won for her proposal to travel to a community of bronze melters 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.

The BP Portrait Award 2016 received 2,557 entries from 80 countries. Judged anonymously, 53 portraits have been selected for the exhibition.

Scottish artists include; Helen Wilson, Jane Gardiner and Fiona Graham-McKay.










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