Home » Exhibitions » Exhibition Review : BP Portrait Award 2016 at the National Portrait Gallery – 23rd June to 4th September 2016

Exhibition Review : BP Portrait Award 2016 at the National Portrait Gallery – 23rd June to 4th September 2016


The BP Portrait Award, now in its 37th year at the National Portrait Gallery and 27th year of sponsorship by BP, is a highly successful annual art event aimed at encouraging artists to tackle the theme of painted portraiture within their work. The BP Portrait Award, one of the world’s most prestigious art competitions, has a First Prize of £30,000, making it one of the largest for any global arts competition

The BP Portrait Award  is popular with artists, this year the award received 2,557 entries from 80 countries. It is also popular with the public, last year the BP Portrait Award exhibition received 329,556 visitors.

From the original entries, 53 portraits have been selected for the exhibition and the winners are selected from these portraits.


The winner of the BP Portrait Award for 2016 is Girl in a Liberty Dress by  Clara Drummond, , a portrait of her friend and fellow artist Kirsty Buchanan. Drummond has been selected for the BP Portrait Award in 2013 and 2014 for portraits of the same sitter and has had portraits selected for the exhibition with different sitters in 2006 and 2009.


The second prize of £10,000 went to Chinese artist Bo Wang, for Silence, a portrait depicting his grandmother lying on her hospital bed a month before she died.


The third prize of £8,000 went to artist Benjamin Sullivan,  for Hugo, a portrait of the poet Hugo Williams painted in the study of his Islington home.


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.


The winner of the BP Travel Award 2016, an annual prize to enable 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 one of the refugee camps in Greece.


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-smelters in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, West Africa.


Part of the attraction of this free exhibition is to enjoy the wide variety of portraiture which features some famous and not so famous faces. The standard is consistently high and it is fun when you wander around the exhibition to pick out your own particular favourites and decide whether you agree with the judge’s choices.


The portraits can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery from Thursday 23 June when the BP Portrait Award 2016 exhibition opens to the public. The exhibition then will go on tour to the Usher Gallery, Lincoln (12 September – 13 November 2016) and Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh (26 November 2016 – 26 March 2017.)

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like to find out more about the exhibition, visit the National Portrait Gallery website here

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