Three artists have been shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award 2020, which will open as a virtual exhibition on Tuesday 5 May while the National Portrait Gallery, London is temporarily closed due to the current Coronavirus pandemic.
The three portraits in the running for the £35,000 First Prize are Night Talk by Jiab Prachakul; Portrait of Denis: Actor, Juggler and Fashion Model by Sergey Svetlakov and Labour of Love by Michael Youds. The shortlisted portraits were selected from 1,981 entries from 69 countries. It is the first time any of the artists have been shortlisted for the Award or selected for exhibition.
The prize winners will be announced on Tuesday 5 May on the National Portrait Gallery’s social media channels. All 48 works selected for the BP Portrait Award 2020 exhibition will be shown in a virtual gallery space that replicates the rooms of the National Portrait Gallery, enabling online visitors to view the portraits collectively, read the labels and get insights from the artists, as well as exploring each individual work in more detail. The popular Visitor’s Choice feature, which offers the public the opportunity to vote for their favourite portrait will also run online.
The BP Portrait Award 2020 exhibition was originally due to open at the National Portrait Gallery on the 21 May 2020, but has been postponed following the Gallery’s temporary closure to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus and ensure the safety and wellbeing of visitors and staff. It is not yet known if the exhibition will be able to be shown at the Gallery before building works begin on Inspiring People, the Gallery’s major redevelopment project, at the end of June.
Night Talk by Jiab Prachakul, 2019 © Jiab Prachakul
Jiab Prachakul for Night Talk (1000 × 1000mm, acrylic on canvas)
Jiab Prachakul was born in in 1979 in Nakhon Phanom, a small town on the Mekong River in northeast Thailand. She studied filmography at Thammasat University before working as a casting director at a Bangkok production company, finding talent for advertising campaigns. In 2006, Prachakul relocated to London where she had the ‘instant realisation’ that she wanted to be an artist after viewing a David Hockney retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery. Entirely self-taught, she moved to Berlin in 2008 and began selling her pictures at a local flea market and set up an online fashion brand, designing merchandise based on her artworks, which she continues to run from her current home in Lyon.
Portrait of Denis: Actor, Juggler and Fashion Model by Sergey Svetlakov, 2019 © Sergey Svetlakov
Sergey Svetlakov for Portrait of Denis: Actor, Juggler and Fashion Model (508 × 407mm, Oil on canvas)
Sergey Svetlakov was born in 1961 in Kazan, the capital city of what is now the Republic of Tatarstan in the Russian Federation. He graduated from the Kazan Art School, one of the oldest in Russia, before studying set design at the Theatre Academy in St Petersburg where he continues to live and work. His early career was spent designing sets and costumes for operas and stage productions. In the early 1990s, he gave up working in theatre to devote all his energies to his portraiture, nude studies and still life, and he has since exhibited widely across Europe, the US and Japan.
Labour of Love by Michael Youds, 2019 © Michael Youds
Michael Youds for Labour of Love (1400 × 1000mm, Oil on canvas)
Born in 1982 in Blackburn, Lancashire, Michael Youds gained a first-class degree in Fine Art from Lancaster University before moving to Edinburgh in 2006. Youds works as a gallery attendant at the National Galleries of Scotland, he is also an award-winning artist in his own right and devotes most of his free time to painting portraits and still life at his studio in the city. His work has been selected for exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. In 2019, he won first prize in the Scottish Portrait Awards for a painting of him and his twin brother David, who is also an artist.
The Portrait Award is an annual event aimed at encouraging artists to focus on and develop the theme of portraiture in their work. The competition is open to everyone aged eighteen and over, in recognition of the outstanding and innovative work currently being produced by artists of all ages.
One of the most important platforms for portrait painters, the Award has a first prize of £35,000, making it one of the largest for any global arts competition. The winner also receives, at the Gallery’s discretion, a commission worth £7,000 (agreed between the National Portrait Gallery and the artist). The second winner receives £12,000 and a third prize of £10,000 is also awarded. The BP Young Artist Award, with a prize of £9,000 goes to one selected artist aged between 18 and 30.
BP Travel Award 2019
The winner of the BP Travel Award 2019 was Manu Saluja for her proposal to create portraits of volunteers working in the vast communal kitchen at The Golden Temple in Amritsar, India. The resulting work will be displayed online in the BP Portrait Award 2020 exhibition.
For more information, visit the National Portrait Gallery website here
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