In 1965 Ipswich Art Club (as Ipswich Art Society was then known), set up a fund in memory of Anna Airy (1882-1964) She was one of the most distinguished painters of her generation; her work is represented in many major national collections. For the last twenty years of her life after her move from London to Suffolk, she was President of the Society. But Anna Airy is also remembered as an inspirational teacher and the fund enabled the Society to make an award to a young artist whose work had been selected for their annual open exhibition.
Ipswich Art Society has been able to build on this tradition by organising an annual exhibition just for students from local Sixth Forms and Colleges and making awards to outstanding students. These exhibitions have grown over the years and proved to be a wonderful showcase for the outstanding work that is being produced in local schools and which would never have been seen by the public. This has been achieved in association with the University of Suffolk and with the support and very generous sponsorship over the years of The Arts Society: South East Suffolk, and this year by The Arts Society:Woodbridge as well. These Societies are just 2 of 380 affiliated to The Arts Society, a leading arts education charity with more than 98,000 members. It was founded in 1968, the year in which the first Anna Airy Award was made.
This year, with Covid uncertainties continuing, it was decided to have a virtual exhibition for a second year. Each School was invited to select their own award winners and then submit an image of one piece of their work for this exhibition. CONGRATULATIONS to them ALL!
ELLY MAY The Horse
Mixed media 244 x 122cms
FASEEHA KHALID Glowing City Lights
Mixed media 233 x 126 cms
XANTHE ROBSON Red Covid Jar
Papier mâché, pen and paint 42 x 25cms
MIA YATES Architectural Forms Study
Pen and acrylic on canvas 20 x 20cms
GRACE NICHOLLS Friends
Oil on canvas 52 x 45cms
“Grace is a painter who specialises in portraiture including, images of animals and sport in her portfolio. In Friends, Grace illustrates our connection with animals that was inspired by her experience of lockdown when many of us became much closer to our pets. This is a part of a series where Grace explored family during a time of isolation. Grace Grace, a prolific painter, captured my family and other animals during this time. Grace has ambitions to explore her Art beyond A Level.”
HARRY BUDD Fire
Wire, tissue paper, wax, photographs, digital manipulation, OSB wood panel, mod podge and varnish 200 x 180cms
“This piece is a mixed media piece that is part of a large polytych illustrating the four elements; this piece is Fire. In the attached link Harry has documented the process of making the sculptural wings for his "angel" out of wire, tissue and wax. He then set them on fire to include them as wings on a flaming, fiery angel before photographing the human part of the angel. The two images were digitally put together then placed on a background of the graffiti filled underground area on the south bank. The wooden panel is created using many A3 prints that are then put onto the wood using mod podge. All of the final panels will be exhibited together but as the Fire piece is currently too large to fit in a vehicle Harry is now re-making this piece on a slightly smaller scale before making the other elements.”
CAITLIN WIGGINS Mum
Oil on board 90 x 64cms
CALEB ERNST Nostalgia
Oil on board 94 x 67cms
HONOR GILES Man Up
Oil paint and textile 34 x 45cms
LILY WILKINS Growing Up In an Unfair Patriarchy
Oil on board 62 x 84cms
EMILY SAUNDERS Haunted
Oil paint 60 x 60cms
MILLIE WHATLEY Playtime
Acrylic paint 80 x 60cms
LUCIA BUSSELL Pedestrian
Oil and mixed-media on board 123 x 81cms
ROHAN SPURGEON Protected
Oil on distressed metal 91 x 91cms
ASHER OXBORROW Naomi
Oil on board 93 x 22cms
"The red background makes each individual stand out and enhances their eyes and the violets within the face and hair. It resembles their strong characters. I aimed to capture their personality and life through the depth and detail within the eyes. striking yet natural. This follows a similar composition to most of Mark Mann’s photographs and creates a similar atmosphere of feeling their calming presence."
SARAH MOLONEY Woman in Gold
Oil and gold leaf on board 84 x 60cms
“I tried to emulate my renaissance influence through the seated pose and light tonality that highlights the figure. I also showed similarity with the romantics through focusing on a ‘normal’ body, rather than the super thin ‘size zero’ models being depicted most often in modern media. The idea of finding beauty and power in ‘imperfections’ is the primary message I want the piece to convey. I named the painting ‘Woman in Gold’, referring to the later addition of gold leaf in the style of Kintsugi.”
BEN JACKSON Self portrait
Oil on canvas 150 x120cms
OLIVIA MAYERS 4 states of mind
Mixed media on paper 4 x studies @ 25 x 25cms
CAROLINE BARTEKOVA Grandad
Mixed media 73.5 x 51.5cms
SHANILLE CHIKODZI Black Lives Matter
Clay and acrylic Height 30.5cms
JESSICA PARKER The Colours of Nature
Screen print, woven and hand made materials 2.5 x 3m
HARRIET WELHAM Beauty in the Everyday
Mixed media drawing installation 2 x 2.5m
When Covid 19 struck early in the year and so many exhibitions and events were no longer possible, the hope was that the Anna Airy Award Exhibition would be able to go ahead as planned in November at the University of Suffolk. When this too was cancelled it was particularly disappointing. This annual exhibition of work by young artists has proved to be a wonderful showcase of the outstanding work being produced in local Sixth Forms.
Rather than cancel the event entirely, it was decided, in consultation with the Anna Airy Award sponsors, The Arts Society South East Suffolk, to share the prize money and ask the art teachers of the schools who regularly submit their students’ work to select their ‘star student’ for an Anna Airy Award of £100, with IAS making up any shortfall. A photo of the student’s work would be submitted for an online exhibition produced by IAS. The Schools were delighted to know that ‘The Anna Airy 2020’ would happen, even though it would be in a different format.
The first Anna Airy Award was made in 1964 following the death of Anna Airy who had been President of Ipswich Art Club (as IAS was then known) for the last 24 years of her life. Anna Airy was not only one of the most distinguished women artists of her day, but an inspirational teacher and a a lifelong champion of young artists. On her death IAS raised funds for an award in her memory to be given to a young artist of promise. As a result of the close collaboration between IAS, the University, and sponsorship from TASSES this annual exhibition for young artists has in recent years gone from strength to strength. It is now a prestigious and highly acclaimed event attracting up to 200 submissions each year.
It’s unnecessary to say that this year has been like no other. We take this opportunity to congratulate both the students and teachers who have continued working under extremely difficult circumstances.
Faye Lok for example, actually made her piece in hospital while suffering from Covid19. The result was a pair of exquisite wings. Once home Faye made a film of herself wearing them while dancing in the isolation of an apartment in Hong Kong. The dance movingly illustrates her ‘rebirth’ from weeks of ‘imprisonment’. The title A Dancer Dies Twice comes from a quotation by the dancer Martha Graham. It continues, and the first time is more painful than the second…
Clarisse Hood’s painting Immigrants, with its atmospheric lighting and fine brushwork, appears at first to be a reworking of the traditional Nativity scene depicting the flight into Egypt. But the discreet sign reads ‘Welcome to the Jungle’. This is here and now.
Lily Carroll’s twin portraits are the outcome of a series of paintings she did of a woman from her homeland Kenya. She used them to explore how the image and the surface on which it is painted could be intrinsically linked. By incorporating maps, academic texts, and encyclopaedia into her portraits, Lily’s striking double portrait Untitled shows how the surface of the work itself can become part of the viewer’s dialogue with the image.
Rebecca Sotiriou Boy with a Spoon, Melvin Sam Poppy, and Lauren Oxborrow Bella, have all painted arresting portraits. They each show how by experimenting with different poses, expressions, and the inclusion of accessories, a portrait can acquire an individuality, a sense of intrigue, that evokes different responses from the viewer.
Flavia Daniel‘s ambitious and eye catching sculpture Cocoon is a large, but seemingly fragile work suspended from a beam. Flavia had explored a range of cocoon shapes intrigued by the concept of something living within waiting to emerge in a new life.
Rowan Collinson has used the latest technology, digital photography and Photoshop, to create a sensational design for another digital medium, a CD cover for Call to Mind. And extremely professional it is too.
Sophie Piper has by contrast given the ancient craft of textiles a contemporary twist, literally, in her stunning costume Pleats and Gathers.
Congratulations to all the students. They have produced showstoppers… though thanks to them, the show did go on.
Call to Mind
Digital photography and Photoshop
CD Cover Size: 12 x 12cm
Pleats and Gathers
Hand painted and manipulated cotton
46 x 34cm
Wire, wet strength, spray paint
165 x 65cm
A Dancer Dies Twice
1.5 x 1m
Oil on board 45 x 60cm
Oil on encyclopaedia page 85 x 108cm
Oil on map 82 x 110cm
Oil 164 x 106.5cm
Boy with a Spoon
Oil on board 120 x 80cm
Oil on wood panel 170cm x 122cm