Ones to watch

The Ingram Prize 2021: discover the four winning artists and the stories behind their work
Art | 19 November 2021

Anietie Ekanem, ‘Yemaya o Yemoja’, 2021, Video

Last night, The Ingram Prize – a leading annual event championing young contemporary artists in the UK – announced its 2021 winners, filtering an impressive nominations list down to just four: Anna Perach, Anietie Ekanem and Katharina Fitz, with James Dearlove taking home the Founders Choice Award.

Each of the artists will have their artworks purchased for The Ingram Collection – one of the largest and most significant publicly accessible collections of Modern British art in the UK – and access to a programme of continued professional development alongside both industry and peer-to-peer networks: providing a vital platform for young artists during a period of nationwide funding cuts in the arts.

Through film, sculpture and painting, this year’s winning artworks span medium and meaning – here, each artist takes us through their winning piece, explaining the stories that influence their process.

Anna Perach – Daphne

“I began to think about the female body as a site of transformation and its connection to the cycle of nature. Both elements have been often condemned throughout Western history and positioned the female body as a dangerous, irrational and deceiving form that needs to be contained and restricted by society.

In my Daphne sculpture, I recreate the position of Daphne in Bernini’s piece but remove Apollo focusing only on her body. It’s a dynamic, transitioning body but also an amputated one, lacking a head for expression and arms for touch and protection. This piece is part of my ongoing research into narratives of brutality and compartmentalisation of the female body in different narratives in Western history.”

Anna Perach, ‘Daphne’, 2021, tufted yarn, beading, wooden frame / Image courtesy of ADA, Rome. Photo by Roberto Apa

Anietie Ekanem – Yemaya o Yemoja

“I have used moving image and sound to deepen my understanding of how performance acts as an expression of spirituality and resistance. Cycles of creation, motherhood and the suggestion of death are my main points of inquiry which unfold across three chapters in this video, rooted in the syncretism of Hoodoo and Catholicism.”

Katharina Fitz – Pupa and Queen

“Through the use of different processes form has been pushed through a sort of metamorphosis and translated from one stage into another. It is the exposure of mutation of form, of the creation of an organism, with the potential to be pushed into something else. It’s a conversation, a dialogue between objects that exist in a constant flow of change.”

Katharina Fitz ‘Pupa and Queen’, 2020, plaster, foam, recycled polystyrene, latex, thread, paper / Image credit: Thomas Richardson

James Dearlove – Figures on a Bed

“This painting is a contemporary urban landscape of queer bodies and demonstrates the desire and disquietude that are central concerns in my work. I am preoccupied with how light falls on flesh and how bodies can coalesce with their surroundings. This painting is informed by my experience of living as a queer man in the heart of London. When I had a studio in Vauxhall (which could be called a very gay part of London) I was aware that all around me gay men were meeting on hook-up apps for anonymous sex and drug-taking. I felt I couldn’t ignore this intense and strange human interaction as subject matter however transgressive or hard to understand especially as it was going on in my community.

I painted on random squares of old newspaper which I de-acidified so as to ensure the longevity of the painting. I chose newspaper because the printed matter interrupts the surface and interferes with the painted marks with a kind of soft violence that I found appropriate and beautiful. I also like the counterplay between the intimacy of the bodies but also their anonymity and the anonymity of the city and the twenty-four-hour news cycle.”

James Dearlove, ‘Figures on a bed’, 2020, oil on de-acidified newsprint on linen

Find out more on The Ingram Prize here.

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