Travers Smith LLP is delighted to announce the winners of its 2021/22 CSR Art Awards. Set up in 2015, the firm's CSR Art Programme supports graduate artists from the University of Westminster and the Royal College of Art (RCA), with the transition from student life to professional practice.
The Awards are the culmination of a year-long series of events and activities aimed at supporting graduate artists, and an opportunity for the firm to recognise the exceptional talent of this community.
This year's panel of judges included artist Alex Calinescu, Nathalie Tidman, Editor at Legal Business, Adam Jomeen, founder of Art Law Studio, and Natalia Grabowska, Assistant Curator at Serpentine Galleries. They selected winners in three categories; an undergraduate from the University of Westminster, a postgraduate from the RCA, as well as an alumni artist from our CSR Art Programme. This is the first time the Programme has been open to all alumni artists, allowing them to enter for a second time with their new work.
Ellen Tasker was the overall winner in the University of Westminster graduate category for her bold photographs, "Utopia Complex", which depict the Barbican Estate from conception to the present day. Aisha Northeast was awarded runner up for her work titled "Black, White, Ugly, Beautiful".
Myro Wulff took the top prize in the RCA category for his series of striking portraits titled "How Am I Not Myself". Runner up was Gökhan Tanrıöver for his "Evidence of my Sexual Misdemeanours" series.
Itamar Freed was the winner in the Alumni Artist category for his hyper-realistic landscapes titled "Oh Deer" and "Orange Tree". Both pieces were co-created with Kristina Chan. Susan Rocklin and Melissa Magnuson were the runners up in this category.
Paola Estrella was announced as the winner of the popular vote, which was open to everyone who works at Travers Smith, for her work titled "Shower".
All four winning artists have been awarded £2,000 to support them with their transition towards professional practice. Runners up have also been awarded cash prizes of £500.
Travers Smith CSR Partner and Art Programme Chair Donald Lowe said: "We were delighted to support our largest cohort of artists this year, increasing the number of exceptional artworks on display in our offices. The expansion of our programme not only reflects our ongoing commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, but also our dedication to supporting emerging artists following a particularly challenging period. Many congratulations to all of this year's winners."
Myro Wulff, RCA winner, commented: "It is an honour to be a part of the Travers Smith CSR Art Programme. The programme has been a terrific experience, supportive and understanding of my needs as an artist. I am humbled and overjoyed at having been selected as a winner of the CSR Art Award. Receiving recognition for my work from an expert jury is a great boost of confidence, and the prize that comes with the Award offers an exceptional level of support. All this at an important moment in the development of my practice. I would like to thank Travers Smith and the judges for this recognition. I'd also like to thank Travers Smith for their generosity and supporting me as an artist throughout the year."
Alex Calinescu, artist and judge, said: "We are all aware of the impact Covid-19 has had on the lives of students in particular. This is especially so for those studying in the arts. Whether music, dance, drama, or art, all of these disciplines require a physical space in which to create. The nature of our work also means that it should be, needs to be, experienced in the physical realm - a reproduction in a book or an image on a screen, is simply not the same.
"In lockdown these students found themselves without access to a studio space or use of any facilities. They were working very much in isolation. A far cry from how they imagined this time to be. That's why this year, more than any other before, these artists in the early stages of their career need the support that Travers Smith’s CSR Art Programme offers.
"For those artists who fully engage with the many opportunities available to them there is so much to gain. Not least the potential to build a long term relationship. The lack of any provision for professional development in art schools today is beyond my comprehension. I am so glad that here at least these emerging artists will have the ability to engage with such a unique and valuable resource.”