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