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New Light Prize Exhibition: The Prize Winners

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Established in 2010, New Light celebrates and promotes Northern art, supporting both well-known and emerging artists by offering some of the region's best awards and opportunities with the biennial New Light Prize Exhibition.


With each exhibition New Light awards five prizes to artists, worth over £15000. This year's winners were whittled down from over 2000 entries onto a shortlist of 125 artworks from 105 artists.

Read on to find out more about each prize-winning artist.

Joanna Whittle - Sorrowing Cloth
£10,000 Valeria Sykes Award

Joanna Whittle is a member of the Contemporary British Painting Society. Born in Zambia but now living in Sheffield, she is a multi-award-winning artist having recently won the Harley Open Prize and the Contemporary British Painting Prize (both 2019) as well as the New Light Prize (2020). She has exhibited widely from Scarborough and London to New York.

Sorrowing Cloth explores the ideas surrounding memorial structures and how places gain significance as sites of mourning.

Image shows a cropped section of a painting by Joanna Whittle

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"I am interested in the rituals carried out in these places and how the result of these rituals is deposited in the landscape, creating evolving sculptures. The impermanence of these structures and those in many of my other paintings give the sense that they are already falling apart and disappearing like fragile and temporary ruins. I am also interested in how these structures, usually tents or facades, conceal things within or behind and seem to imply furtive activity. There is always an unsettling sensation that something has been hidden, or a foreboding that something is about to occur. This piece is also painted on copper which creates an odd sense of luminosity that enhances the idea of a ceremonial site"

"My aim in painting a portrait is to capture something in the sitter's face that may be fleeting but revelatory."

Victor Harris - Forlorn
£2500 Patron's Choice Award

Victor Harris is a retired psychiatrist, based in Lancashire, painting mainly in oils. Since starting painting in 2010, Victor has exhibited in London and across the UK in 8 national art competitions.

Image shows a cropped section of a painting by Joanna Whittle

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Linnet Panashe Rubaya - Seen
Saul Hay Emerging Artist Prize

Linnet Panashe Rubaya is a Leeds-based self-taught artist and graduate in Biomedical Science (BSc Hons) from the University of Brighton. She was shortlisted for the Robert Walters' UK Young Artist of the Year 2019 and exhibited at the Saachi Gallery, London. She was also runner-up for the Bridgeman Studios 'Art of Diversity' Prize and currently has work in group shows at MK Gallery and Collyer Bristow Gallery, London.

Image shows a cropped section of a painting by Joanna Whittle

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"My work explores a Black modern narrative. This body of work was inspired by conversation race and identity politics ignited by Black people across Europe and the Americas, particularly due to the racial disparities in the statistics of Covid-19 outcomes and the disproportionate brutality in which the Black individual is treated by the police. This work was birthed from conversations with Black friends, family and acquaintances being identified as 'not like other Black people'. With the symphonies of Black voices crying out, seemingly sudden and collectively; the Black individual feels forgotten or 'othered'.

My work highlights the Black individual. We share the inheritence of Blackness and all that comes with it and we all carry it in all its glistening glory. We seek the similar goals of escaping the undeniable racial, social, economic chains put upon us because of it; but we do this using different avenues, starting from different positions and going in different directions with differing ideologies and experiences. The fundamental truth is Black people are not a monolith and the Black individual desires to see and be seen."

"Borge Bay lies on the east coast of Signy Island, one of the South Orkney Islands off the tip of the Antarctic penninsula. The view across the bay is from Factory Cove where the British Antarctic Survey maintain a research station. I visited Signy in 2011 during a research cruise on the BAS ship the RRS James Clark Ross. The base was being closed down for the winter, and everyone on the ship was drafted to help carry all the cargo being shipped out down to the jetty - working around the elephant seals that had settled down to doze all around the base."

Ian Brooks - Across Borge Bay
Zillah Bell Printmaker Prize

At school, Ian Brooks was torn between art and science. Opting for a degree in physics, he eventually ended up as a professor in atmospheric physics doing research on ocean-atmosphere interactions and polar climate. He never quite gave up the habit of drawing, but only after being encouraged to try etching did he start to treat art seriously again. His scientific research has taken him to many of the world's most remote locations, including the north pole and a number of islands off the coast of Antarctica. These fragile, often bleak, landscapes have provided the inspiration for many of his etchings.

Image shows a cropped section of a painting by Joanna Whittle

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Christian Alexander Bailey - Tree Sparrow
New Light Purchase Prize

Christian Alexander Bailey is a Yorkshire-based artist. Specialising in ink, he takes inspiration from nature and architecture. His artwork celebrates detail and shows a realistic portrayal of his subjects. Each piece takes over a month to create, with each line hand drawn.

Image shows a cropped section of a painting by Joanna Whittle

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