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The John Ruskin Prize 2019: Agent of Change

Shortlist Exhibition

12.07.19 - 24.08.19

“What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do.” - John Ruskin

In response to a nationwide call for artists, designers and makers, The John Ruskin Prize 2019 saw a record number of entries. Responding to this year’s prize theme: Agent of Change, 41 artists and designers, working across a broad range of disciplines, were selected from over 1260 entries for The John Ruskin Prize 2019. The 2019 selection panel considered over 3000 artworks by artists at all stages of their careers.

The John Ruskin Prize 2019 Prize Winners:
1st Prize (£3000): Juliette Losq, 2nd Prize (£1000): Shanti Panchal, Student / Recent Graduate Prize (£1000): Chao Wang

Following a challenging winner selection for the 2019 panel, artist Juliette Losq was selected by the panel as the 1st Prize Winner for her hand painted 3D installation ‘Proscenium’ - an immersive installation based on a ‘Teleorama’ optical device. Measuring an impressive 3 metres in height and width the intricately layered work defies belief as the restrictive boundaries of watercolour are boldly rejected. The 2019 selection panel were taken by the form and content of the work, the elegant brushwork at odds with the brutality of urban decay brought full circle as nature reclaims its rightful place.

Awarded the 2nd Prize is painter Shanti Panchal for his powerful watercolour ‘Brexit'. The prize panellists were struck by the artist’s control of the medium, simultaneously bold and affecting. On an issue (Brexit) where everyone has an opinion, this piece tells the story of the people who have made the UK their home and been unapologetically rejected by the nation. A place they believed to be an integral part of their identity.

The Student Prize winner Chao Wang’s memorising digital video ‘Walk with Me’ is an exquisite display of the poetic potential of digital art. The work alludes to a post-apocalyptic world, void of colour and navigated by the viewer as if taking a relaxing stroll in the countryside. It warns of a world, where nature is a distant memory, the calmness of the stroller in this world of tar at odds with the viewer’s fear of such a place.

The John Ruskin Prize 2019 Prize Finalists are:
Balal Aquil, Omid Asadi, Lucy Burscough, Tracey Bush, Duncan Cameron, Faye Claridge, Judy Clarkson, Wayne Clough, Connor Coulston, Sarah Craske, Smout Allen Design Research, Sarah Duncan, Lisa Earley, Kate Genever, Nigel Goldsmith, Evagelia Hagikalfa, Martin Hearne, Michelle Heron, Harriet Mena Hill, Marguerite Horner, Benedict Hughes, Juliette Losq, Pinkie Maclure, Farwa Moledina, Julie Moss, Fronc Ng, Kazuki Nishinaga, Shanti Panchal, Lucy Pass, Lee John Phillips, Hilary Powell, Mike S Redmond & Faye Coral Johnson, Gabrielle Roberts-Dalton, Conor Rogers, Katrin Spranger, Emilia Symis, Kathy Taylor, Danny Treacy, Chao Wang, Pip Woolf and Colin Yates.

The 2019 shortlist was selected by:
Hew Locke, Artist; Barbara walker MBE, Artist; Jessie Brennan, Artist; Dr Rachel Dickinson, Director of Education, Guild of St George and Principal Lecturer Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University; Dr Jonathan Foyle, Architectural Historian, Broadcaster & Artist,Professor Tim Brennan, Artist & Head of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University and Kate Mason, Director, The Big Draw

The shortlist exhibition ‘Agent of Change’ is curated by: Rachel Price and Zoe Watson

On this year’s exhibition the Prize’s Managing-Director, Rachel Price comments:

“With the values of the radical Victorian polymath and social reformer John Ruskin at its core, and with his legacy in the spotlight in the bicentenary year of his birth, we are proud that the often challenging themes explored through The John Ruskin Prize resonate so strongly with contemporary artists and designers across the nation.

The overwhelming response to this year’s theme ‘Agent of Change’ highlights the active role of artists as perception shifters and catalysts of positive change in our society. The selected artists’ concerns are as diverse as their material approaches with works that are teeming with passion, dedication and wit. As Ruskin did some 150 years ago, the selected artists shed new light and innovative perspectives on societal, political and environmental issues - the collective voice from the 2019 shortlist is a refreshing antidote to apathy - with a stark and sometimes satirical reminder that sitting on the fence never changed a thing”.

The Prize
The John Ruskin Prize is now in its 5th year and in a nationwide call invited entries from established and emerging artists and designers aged 18 or over living, working or studying in the United Kingdom. The Award is £5000 with £3000 going to the Winner, and £1000 going to both the Second Prize winner and Student Prize Winners.

The shortlist exhibition, Agent of Change, will be on display at The Holden Gallery, Manchester until 24th August 2019. The exhibition is free and open to all.




Drawing Democracy: The Art of Observation and its Power to affect Change

Informal talk and curator led exhibition tour

Further details

  1. Benedict Hughes, 50 Famous Vegetarians, 2018
  2. Duncan Cameron, The Seaweeds of Devil's Point
  3. Juliette Losq, Proscenium, 2018
  4. Omid Asadi, Four Corners, 2018
  5. Shanti Panchal, Brexit, 2018