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The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize Announces 2023 Winners

28 September 2023

The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2023 open call received an overwhelming response, with over 3,000 submissions from 1,450 candidates representing 40 countries. From this remarkable outpouring of contemporary drawing practice worldwide, 123 drawings by 111 practitioners were shortlisted for inclusion in the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2023 exhibition.

As the exhibition opened its doors with a Launch and Awards Announcement on Thursday 28 September 2023, at Trinity Buoy Wharf in London, the five award winners, collectively receiving £27,000, were revealed.

Awards Announcement at Trinity Buoy Wharf

First Prize of £8,000

Jeanette Barnes, New Battersea Tube Station & Developments, 2023, Compressed charcoal on paper, 150 x 213cm.

Jeanette Barnes at Trinity Buoy Wharf

Jeanette Barnes' award-winning work is a dizzyingly immersive and dynamic portrayal of Battersea's development in London, anchored by the new underground station. Battersea power station’s iconic chimneys only just edge into the picture, which focuses on the rise of newer buildings, and the ebb and flow of people. The work’s scale, 1.50 metres by 2.13 metres, invites viewers to step inside the drawing, feeling the vibrant and chaotic energy of the bustling city.

Born in Lancashire in 1961, Jeanette Barnes is as an accomplished artist and educator who has devoted the past 25 years of her career to large-scale drawings capturing the essence of the urban landscape. “Drawing is the entirety of my practice” Jeanette Barnes explains. “Through these pieces I want to generate that sense of energy and excitement which is representative of being part of the city. My work engages with the constant development within the urban environment. I am fascinated by the way vast architectural projects are changing the nature and demography of given areas."

Much of Jeanette Barnes' work has centred around the developments within the city of London, exploring the relationship between these built environments and those who inhabit them. As much as the work documents the site itself, it also uses the movement of people and the energy of construction as a metaphor for urban experience and change.

Second Prize of £5,000

Victoria Hunter McKenzie, Tasha brought us Guinneps, 2022, charcoal, graphite on paper, 41 x 30.5cm.

A charcoal drawing of a young girl, seen from above, her outstretched hand offering a gift of fruits (Guinneps), the award-winning drawing is a deeply personal and poignant image of her niece.

“Tasha is my niece. She is growing up in an impoverished yard in rural Jamaica” the New York-based artist explains. “Despite the many who greet those “fram farin” [foreigners, coming from abroad] with their hands out, there are many more who will greet you with a gift.”

Due to family connections, Victoria Hunter McKenzie has been travelling to Jamaica for over thirty years. Her award-winning work serves as a personal and nuanced reflection of her experiences upon arriving in Jamaica, where she was welcomed by the heartfelt generosity of those with limited means. Through her art, Victoria Hunter McKenzie reveals the profound complexities and heartfelt experiences of Jamaica’s inhabitants, beyond glossy touristic images, and the deep family ties that link her to the island nation.

Student Award of £2,000

Peter Blodau, El Kobri Maadi, 2023, charcoal on paper, 60 x 40cm.

His award-winning piece, El Kobri Maadi, 2023, is a charcoal drawing of the dusty and multi-layered Cairo cityscape, dynamically captured from its rooftops. The black and white drawing presents a landscape of flat, barren, roofs with their own worlds of satellite dishes, left overs, and long forgotten items.

"Using the medium of drawing, I work directly in front of the subject to express an immediate direct response” Peter Blodau explains. “The play of light on these hard geometric forms endlessly varying yet always the same becomes another aspect I sought to capture in this series of works on paper."

Born in Berlin, Germany, in 1967, to parents who were both artists, Peter Blodau moved to Ireland as a child and studied Fine Art Printmaking in Limerick. He started his professional life as an artist in Paris, where he made drawings and paintings on the streets of the city. He went on to travel back to Berlin, then Greece, Cuba, the United States, Italy, England, and Egypt. In 2014, he moved to Cairo to lecture Drawing and Illustration at the German University in Cairo. Today, he lives, studies and works in Falmouth, Cornwall, UK.

Left: Victoria Hunter McKenzie, Tasha brought us Guinneps, 2022, charcoal, graphite on paper, 41 x 30.5cm, Right: Peter Blodau, El Kobri Maadi, 2023, charcoal on paper, 60 x 40cm

Working Drawing Award of £2,000

Ade Olaosebikan, Reconstituted planes - The Barcelona Pavilion Reimagined 1 and 2, 2023, a digital drawing, 59 x 42cm, and a drawing made with a technical pencil on tracing paper, 84 x 59cm

Ade Olaosebikan, Reconstituted planes - The Barcelona Pavilion Reimagined 1 and 2, 2023, a digital drawing, 59 x 42cm, and a drawing made with a technical pencil on tracing paper, 84 x 59cm

The Working Drawing Award is a special category within the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize that celebrates the role of drawing within architecture, design and making processes, chosen by a selection panel comprising Ben Heath, Principal, Grimshaw Architects; Debbie Hillyerd, Senior Director of Learning, Hauser & Wirth; and Michael Pavelka, costume and set designer for stage, dance and opera.

The Working Drawing Award, worth £2,000, went to Ade Olaosebikan (born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1991), for Reconstituted planes - The Barcelona Pavilion reimagined 1 and 2, 2023, a digital drawing, 59 x 42cm, and a drawing made with a technical pencil on tracing paper, 84 x 59cm.

“I wanted to use the drawings to question the metaphysical nature of a window and see the relationship found between an observer and an object” explains the Bristol-based Architectural Assistant. “Sometimes the fourth dimension is considered as time. I wanted to ask if time can be translated in a single image.”

Both drawings explore how three-dimensionality can be expressed in two-dimensions by depicting an extruded version of the floor plan of the Barcelona Pavilion, one of the most influential modernist buildings of the 20th Century, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich in 1929. “In the end the central question is whether, after a series of abstractions, the original artefact is still able to be read by the viewer.”

Evelyn Williams Drawing Award of £10,000

Isabel Rock for her exhibition proposal to be developed from her drawing Our Cell, 2022, biro on paper, 43 x 53cm

Isabel Rock's exhibition proposal

Selected by Nichoalas Usherwood, Chair of Trustees of the Evelyn Williams Trust, Leah Cross, Director of Programmes and Liz Gilmore, Director of Hastings Contemporary, and Anita Taylor, Director of the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize, the Evelyn Williams Drawing Prize, worth £10,000, aims to support an artist selected for the exhibition who has an existing track record and on the basis of their proposal for a solo exhibition or presentation at Hastings Contemporary.

Artist Isabel Rock, born in London in 1981, received this prestigious biennial award on the basis of her proposal to develop a body of work that depicts an imaginative, surreal vision of the world after climate breakdown has wreaked its havoc. Her recent drawings have a strong narrative looking at systems of commerce, power structures, the complexities of desire, objects of value, the fallibility of human nature and the enterprising charm of human endeavour. Her drawing selected for the exhibition, Our Cell, is a biro drawing on paper offering a glimpse into her month-long stay in HMP Bronzefields in November 2022, when her participation in the Just Stop Oil protests to raise awareness of climate emergency led to her being arrested and incarcerated for a month in prison. Isabel Rock explains, “As I have become more involved in civil disobedience the more I question our society, its rules and how we inhabit the environment. My month in Bronzefields prison showed me that I don't need all of the things I thought I needed. The experience highlighted the resilience of the human spirit, the ingenuity of necessity and the importance of human connection.”

A key part of the artist’s usual practice, drawing became a way to document prison life, to make custody bearable, and to create meaningful connections. “Drawing in prison became my saviour against the monotony” shares Isabel Rock. “We received a notebook in our ‘welcome’ pack and when that was full, I drew on anything I could - envelopes, backs of crossword puzzles, scraps of paper.”

Special Commendation

Special Commendations were also awarded in the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2023, to Sarah Knill-Jones, for Skull I, 2022, charcoal & acrylic on newsprint, and Samuel Owusu Achiaw, Looking, 2022, charcoal, graphite and carbon on paper; and in the Working Drawing Award category to Lisa Marie Gibbs for Nang’s garden, 2022, pencil and pressed rose on found graph paper.

Exhibition at Trinity Buoy Wharf

Visitors can discover all the shortlisted and award-winning works in the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2023 exhibition, now open at Trinity Buoy Wharf, from 29 September 2023 to 15 October 2023. The show is free to visit from 11am to 6pm until Saturday 14 October and 11am to 2pm on Sunday 15 October 2023.

Following its presentation at Trinity Buoy Wharf, the exhibition will embark on a nationwide tour to Drawing Projects UK, details TBC; The Gallery, Arts University Bournemouth, 16 February to 12 April 2024; The Arts Institute, Plymouth University, 4 May to 29 June 2024; Turnpike, Wigan, 13 July to 14 September 2024. A fully illustrated publication, education pack and public engagement programme will accompany the exhibition and tour.

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