The finalists for the inaugural Spectrum Art Prize have been announced, a new national award created to celebrate the excellence of artists on the autistic spectrum. The artists were chosen from open-submission by an expert panel including Mark Wallinger, Charming Baker, Richard Billingham, Sacha Craddock and CEO Mary Simpson, with guest judge Professor Simon Baron-Cohen.
The work of the seven shortlisted artists – Jessica Chowdhury, Dawnne McGeachy, Nnena Kalu, Peter Matthews, Charlotte Amelia Poe, Emma Selwyn and Yap – is a revelation. Demonstrating a diversity of practices in a range of media, from animation to sculpture, through to painting and performance art,there is also a considerable level of virtuosity. The Prize is an opportunity to exhibit work by these remarkable artists as well as to articulate some of the primary conditions associated with the condition.
Whilst autism may impart a unique and individual way of seeing the world, it can also lead to multiple challenges, from social isolation to a literal ‘loss of voice’. The Prize aims to address this with a range of support, including an exhibition at The Saatchi Gallery from 1-2 May, as well as professional mentoring to help the finalists achieve their individual ambitions. All seven finalists will receive a cash prize to help sustain their practice, with a 1st prize of £10,000 to be announced at the Saatchi Gallery on 1st May, as well as 6 further awards of £1,000.