Travers Smith LLP is delighted to announce the winners of its 2019/20 CSR Art Programme featuring artwork by students from the University of Westminster and the Royal College of Art (RCA), the world's most influential postgraduate art and design school.
As a result of the ongoing pandemic, this year's panel of judges had to confer virtually to decide the winning artwork from a selection of 57 shortlisted pieces. After careful consideration, the panel, consisting of Natalia Grabowska (Assistant Curator, The Serpentine Galleries), Nemo Nonnenmacher (CSR Art Programme alumnus and Associate Director of Unit 1 Gallery) and Alex Deveruex (Artist) selected two winners, each from the University of Westminster and the RCA.
Bella Hall - Thorns of Christ
Bella Hall, a graduate from the University of Westminster, received a prize for her artworks "Untitled Blue" and "Thorns of Christ", an abstract series of paintings exploring the formal elements of painting. RCA graduate Osaretin Ugiagbe was awarded a prize for his piece "Heads 2018-2019", which aims to re-address the tradition of portraiture.
Goda Marija Norkute and Finley Perkins, from the University of Westminster, and Giulia Parlato and Jinya Zhao from the RCA were also highly commended by the judges for their artworks.
Sorin Bogdan Sofian, a graduate from the University of Westminster, was also announced as the winner of the popular vote, which was open to everyone who works at Travers Smith, for his series of striking photographs titled "The Last Place on Earth".
All three winning artists have been awarded £2,000 to support them with their transition towards professional practice.
Bella Hall - Untitled Blue
University of Westminster winner Bella Hall commented: "I am incredibly grateful and thrilled to have received this award from Travers Smith, as it has been a fantastic opportunity to be part of the CSR Art Programme. Being able to display my work alongside so many talented artists has been a great honour! I would like to thank Travers Smith for the resources, workshops and platform for displaying my paintings. The experience has given me the knowledge and confidence to further pursue my artistic career in a professional capacity. I look forward to maintaining the relationship with Travers Smith and all the CSR Art Programme 19/20 participants in the future!"
RCA winner Osaretin Ugiagbe said: "It was already an honour to be among the selected artists given the opportunity to showcase their work and be supported by Travers Smith’s CSR Art Programme. That Travers Smith has taken it upon itself to support emerging artists through its programme is truly invaluable, especially in these tough economic times with Covid-19 and the lockdown so I appreciate the firm for providing this opportunity."
Osaretin Ugiagbe - Heads 2018-2019
Government restrictions on large gatherings have meant that art students have not been able to participate in degree shows and the firm's CSR Art Committee has not been able to visit and select artwork from the University of Westminster or RCA. Therefore, for its upcoming 2020/21 Art Programme, the firm has offered all the artists currently participating in the 2019/20 Programme an opportunity to display their work for an additional year.
Furthermore, the firm has extended its programme of professional development to all graduates from both Westminster and the RCA to showcase their artwork in the current collection. A larger cohort of students, particularly those who may not have had an opportunity to showcase their work to a wider audience before, will be able to participate in a series of seminars and workshops to help them develop their professional practice.
Sorin Bogdan Sofian - The Last Place on Earth
Travers Smith CSR Partner Donald Lowe said: "Now in its fifth year, we are extremely proud of our CSR Art Programme and the way in which it emphasises our commitment to CSR from the moment someone enters our offices. As a firm, we remain fully committed to nurturing artistic talent and supporting the participating graduate artists as they transition from student life to professional practice. I am delighted that our judges were able to come together virtually to choose this year's winners, and many congratulations to all the students that have been awarded a prize."
Judges Natalie Grabowska and praised the initiative saying: "Over the years, through their CSR Art Programme, Travers Smith has manifested its commitment and dedication to contemporary art by focusing on promoting and supporting emerging artists. The process of selecting, showing and acquiring works as well as mentoring, offers the artists a great structure of support and further development at such a crucial moment of their careers. This programme is even more remarkable this year, when many art organisations and networks are readjusting to the changed reality. We have been very impressed by the quality of the works chosen for this year’s programme and saw some exceptional talent, commitment and complexity from the artists, working across many different mediums. We have a huge respect for Travers Smith for striving to go ahead with this programme, as it is a support mechanism for emerging artists evermore needed in these demanding times and pointing in the right direction."
Travers Smith’s innovative CSR Art Programme not only includes showcasing and facilitating the sales of art students’ work and awarding cash prizes, but also offers a cutting-edge programme of workshops on professional development, business skills and pro bono legal advice. Our relationship with the universities involved, is an important part of our objective to engage, support and nurture our local communities. Through our links with The Serpentine Galleries, we offer participating artists valuable insights into exhibition planning and development, as well as opportunities to meet curators and established artists. Manifesting our commitment to supporting student artists in their transition towards professional practice