Keren Golea has been announced as the winner of the Glyndebourne Tour Art Competition 2021 for her artwork, Emergence.
Established in 2013, the annual competition offers a platform for up-and-coming artists to showcase their work. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition did not take place last year but came back stronger than ever in 2021, receiving its highest ever number of entries.
As part of her prize, Golea will witness her winning image on the cover of several thousand copies of the Glyndebourne Tour Programme, distributed at Glyndebourne and theatres in Canterbury, Milton Keynes, Norwich and Liverpool.
The 2021 competition challenged entrants to produce artwork inspired by the theme of ‘Forces of Nature’. Artists were asked to create works that celebrate, represent and question our insoluble relationship to nature. They could take opera as the inspiration or interpret the theme through ideas of cultivated gardens and celebrated landscape views, or wild, complicated natural phenomena and threatened environments.
Nerissa Taysom, Glyndebourne curator, said of this year’s entries: “This year we have received an extraordinary response to the Tour Art Competition, with entries from 18 different countries. The standard has been exceptionally high and we’ve seen a diverse range of techniques, from painting and printmaking to sculpture, photography and digital art.
The Tour Art Competition continues to uncover new and emerging talent and we are excited to be showcasing global perspectives on the theme of nature. Keren Golea is a worthy winner. Her painting, Emergence, already demonstrates her mastery of figurative art. Her confident handling of paint, photographic level of detail and exquisite balance of colour transform nature into a revelatory moment.”
Born and raised in the Philippines, Golea discovered her potential in painting at age 17. A few years later, following the completion of a Bachelor Degree in Business Economics, Golea enrolled at Oxford Brookes University, where she is currently in her third year studying Fine Arts, specialising in portrait painting. Growing up, Golea found herself surrounded by magnificent forests, beaches, and islands, and nature is one of her biggest sources of inspiration.
Her winning entry Emergence is painted in oils, a medium the artist likes to use for its versatility and complexity. The woman featured in the painting is a representation of human vulnerability, beauty, and resilience, whilst the water and the composition of light represent the natural forces that surround us.
When describing her competition win, Golea said: “I was completely ecstatic when I found out that I had won the competition and it reminded me of a quote very close to my heart that says: ‘A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great’.
“After I painted Emergence I have realised that I have so much potential within me. Potential that is untapped, dormant, capped, unused and hidden, and that challenged me to go on with the work that I’m doing and release that potential inside me. Although I was a little seed, the potential of being a forest is within me. This competition reminded me of my potential or human’s potential; that we can always do what we haven’t done yet and that we are our own raw material for greatness.”
The competition’s judging panel contained Glyndebourne’s executive chairman Gus Christie, Glyndebourne trustee Lord Davies of Abersoch, sculptor Halima Cassell MBE and Glyndebourne curator Nerissa Taysom.
Finishing in second place in the competition was Sharon Ferris, a Glasgow-based artist and joint third were Deeptika Bhagavathi from India and the Italian artist Barbara Nati from London.
The 2021 Tour opens at Glyndebourne on 8th October 2021 and then visits Canterbury (3rd-5th November), Milton Keynes (10th-12th November), Norwich (24th-26th November) and Liverpool (1st-3rd December).