Bow Arts’ has announced the shortlist of 12 east London-based artists for the new East London Art Prize; Alaa Alsaraji, Kat Anderson, David Aston, Lulu Bennett, Damien Cifelli, Phoebe Collings-James, Sophie Cunningham, Cora Sehgal Cuthbert, Ufuoma Essi, Woo Jin Joo, Lulu Wang and Xinyao Yu.
Selected from an impressive 670 entries – roughly 17% of artists working in east London today – the Prize submissions were encouragingly reflective of east London’s diversity, with one third of entrants identifying as Black, Asian or ethnically diverse and including work from across the visual arts spectrum.
The highly respected selection panel, made up of artist Larry Achiampong, art critic and broadcaster, Louisa Buck, Ellie Pennick, Director of east London’s Guts Gallery, and curator and Director of The Line, Megan Piper, were impressed by the quality of submissions but managed to whittle them down to a final list of 12 for a striking and thought-provoking inaugural shortlist exhibition.
I think the thing I’ve enjoyed the most is seeing the high level of tenacity and hunger in the submissions; anyone coming to see the shortlist exhibition in January 2023 will equally be impressed by this. They all have strong ambition in what they’re creating and display a hunger for conversation. I think that’s really important in these polarising times within the UK, let alone the world.Larry Achiampong
Aiming to celebrate one of the most vibrant cultural hubs in Europe, the Prize’s shortlist includes artists born in South Korea and China, as well as those local to east and southeast London. Themes explored in the shortlisted works included cultural displacement, the shared histories of black British women, isolation and belonging within Muslim communities, disability and navigating everyday life as a disabled person. There was also a broad range and exploration of media in the shortlist, with film, ceramic, painting, performance, and sculpture all included.
All shortlisted artworks will be presented in an exhibition at Bow Arts’ prestigious Nunnery Gallery in January 2023 where the overall winner of a £15,000 cash prize will be announced. In addition to the cash award, the winner will receive a solo exhibition at the Nunnery Gallery in 2024, developed in conjunction with Bow Arts and run as part of the Gallery programme. A second prize of a year’s free studio space at Bow Arts, equivalent to £2,000, will also be awarded. The winners will be announced at the shortlist show in January.
More information here: bowarts.org/east-london-art-prize
Bow Arts has been at the centre of the cultural community of east London for 27 years as a vital provider of studio spaces, and currently supports a community of over 400 artists with affordable, secure and creative workspaces, as well as affordable artist housing schemes. The Bow Arts Prize is an opportunity to shine a light on the work of this important and much-loved east London institution, as well as providing a valuable opportunity for artists across the area.