The top 10 entries from a record-breaking 963 submissions have been shortlisted for the second edition of the 2021 Robert Walters UK New Artist of the Year Award.
The 10 shortlisted artists will have their work exhibited at the prestigious Saatchi Gallery in London on Thursday 4th November 2021, where the overall winner of the £10,000 cash prize will be announced at a VIP awards evening.
The exhibition will remain on view, with free public entry, from Thursday 4th November to Sunday 7th November 2021 at Saatchi Gallery.
The runner up will receive a cash prize of £5,000 to go towards the development of the artists’ future career in the industry.
The award set out to locate and champion exceptional artists who are representative of contemporary Britain, and has brought back together three leading organisations – global recruitment consultancy Robert Walters Group, leading arts charity UK New Artists, and renowned contemporary art platform Saatchi Gallery – to help provide a springboard for the careers of emerging artists.
Within the brief: Where do we go from here? Is there to be a ‘new normal’, judges sought artists and works that explored the impact and aftermath of what has been a globally turbulent and trialling time for all – from our relationship to the things we once held close, right through to the pressure and barriers that the COVID-19 pandemic directly presented on our lives.
Judges included Robert Walters – art enthusiast, collector and CEO of Robert Walters Group; Michael Forbes – artist and chair of Primary; Conor Rogers – artist and winner of the 2019 award; Cindy Sissokho – Curator at New Art Exchange and Associate Curator of Casablanca Biennale; Michelle Bowen – Director of UK New Artists; and Paul Foster – Interim Gallery Director of Saatchi Gallery.
The awards ceremony and shortlist exhibition at Saatchi Gallery has been curated by Garth Gratrix, an international artist, curator and studio director based in the northwest. Gratrix’ work often displays cross-disciplinary practices in diverse and unique settings.
The 2021 Finalists:
- Jukka Virkkunen (London)
- Molly Kent (Edinburgh)
- Lucy Gregory (London)
- Aimee Melaugh (Derry)
- Sam Tahmassebi (London)
- Wesley George (London)
- Jarvis Brookfield (Leicester)
- Anne von Freyburg (London)
- Maayan Sophia Weisstub (London)
- Catriona Robertson (London)
CEO of Robert Walters Group, Robert Walters, said: “Due to Covid-19 we were unable to host the UK New Artist competition in 2020. The results from this year have been outstanding, and to see a 96% increase in the number of entries compared to 2019 is testament to why this award is so important.
“Providing opportunities for ambitious professionals to achieve their potential is the foundation of our business and so we are proud to be working alongside UK New Artists and Saatchi Gallery on such an important initiative. We truly believe it will help launch the careers of the next generation of exceptional UK artists.”
Michelle Bowen, Director of UK New Artists, states: “UK New Artists are proud to work with Robert Walters Group and Saatchi Gallery. We are proud to be able to share these fantastic artists’ work with new audiences. This award offers such an important platform for emerging artists and shines a light on the incredible work being made in the UK today.”
Interim Gallery Director of Saatchi Gallery, Paul Foster affirms: “Following the success of the 2019 exhibition, we are proud to support our gallery patron Robert Walters in hosting the new edition, in partnership with UK New Artists. The award is an important platform in developing the careers of the UK’s diverse young talent and gives artists the opportunity to present their work to a wider audience, aligning with our charity mission to make contemporary art accessible to all.”
For more information about the awards, click here.