First Prize has been awarded to Agim Sulaj for his pencil drawing entitled ‘Refugees’. He was presented with the £6,000 top prize at a Private Awards ceremony on 19 September 2016 at the Mall Galleries, London where all the shortlisted works are on display until 24 September 2016.

Rome based Agim Sulaj, is an artist who has been widely exhibited throughout the world since 1979. Bitingly political, his work has captured the imaginations and consciousness of audiences across Europe, Africa, South America and the Middle East. Through his exquisitely drawn and culturally poignant winning work, Albanian born Sulaj has offered us an artistic image visualising the tenor of the realities of immigration.  ” This work is dedicated to the refugee drama; the people who are in search of a better life often find a tragic ending. Their dreams drown in the big immigration vortex. As the author of this work, I have experienced immigration when I moved to Italy many years ago, where I faced the harsh reality and the difficulty of adapting to the new “world”, where your best friends are the drawing table and the painting brushes.”

The Second Prize of £3,500 is awarded to Essex based artist Lee Wagstaff. The prize is awarded for his graphite drawing ‘Evil’, an intensely toned and detailed work of the roots and branches of trees twisting into each other forming a suffocating natural crypt. He studied at Central Saint Martins and Royal College of Art, London and Kyoto City University of Arts, Japan and has widely exhibited his drawings and large format photographic self-portraits at fine art and performance art venues worldwide.

Tim Wright wins the £1,000 Third Prize. Tim was born in London, where he continues to live and work. The body, the observed world and their expression assert themselves in Wright’s work as is evident in his winning piece Helen Schone 14.  He has worked as a fine art lecturer at most of the principal London art colleges, particularly Chelsea School of Art and Middlesex University. He continues to teach courses in painting at his studio in London and recently taught the actor Timothy Spall to paint in preparation for his role in Mr Turner.

Hong Kong based Apple Wong Hiu Fung for her piece entitled ‘Hiding ’is the recipient of The Young Artist Award (£500) for the best artwork from an artist under the age of 25. A Visual Arts graduate from Baptist University, she has exhibited widely across Asia and was awarded the Hong Kong Clifton’s Art Prize in 2011.  Wong’s commitment to experimenting with a variety of media is clear in her winning piece ‘Hiding’, a captivating coloured pencil drawing on wood board. The delicately rendered image of a man crouching in a forest explores abstract concepts such as isolation and separation.

The skilful works of charcoal, pastel, graphite, water-soluble and coloured pencils will be on display at the Mall Galleries in London from 19 – 24 September 2016. The London show will be followed by a tour to Trowbridge Arts, Wiltshire from 30 October – 19 November 2016.

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