Rise up! Contemporary Art Prize

Nicoletta Wylde, March 2018

For centuries, art has been used to inspire, entice, and spread a unique message and world view; and that’s exactly what the winners of this years Rise Art Prize do. This is the fledgling year of the brand new prize – set up to explore creative excellence, original ideas and exceptional technical skill. It was open to artists from around the globe, and the knock-out rounds featured local judges – before the finalists came together to decide, and ultimately exhibit, the best pieces. But who are these global art trend-setters? Here at London Revealed, we give you the lowdown, below:-

LEBOHANG KGANYE – Global Artist of the Year.
Kganye’s art combines nostalgic family photos with techniques such as drawing, painting and sculpting. Because of this, her art is inherently personal; she opens a dialogue on the mystery of the family photo album and examines how this classic record is used to manipulate memory. Her winning piece, “Ke ile ka tswela pele ka ho tereka a ntse a bua”, which loosely translates as – ‘I keep talking in my own language’, features a contrast between the day-to-day home-life of ironing vs the call of the nightlife. A performance artist, Kganye can also be seen interacting with her creations, that often use separate, cardboard figures, to create the illusion of a photo.

GINA SODEN – Patron Tequila UK Artist of the Year.
Soden travels the world to photograph buildings in a special style of decay. Her work features the decrepit, the crumbling, the abandoned and the pre-loved, from deserted castles to disused power stations. Soden often finds her locations without obtaining permission to shoot; and her work echoes the trials of the urban explorer – to get such in-depth shots, we gasp – how did she get so far inside. Soden herself has travelled around the world in pursuit of her passion. Her work seeks to track the passage of time and decay in once well-loved structures, and injects a burst of the romantic notion of beauty and calm to a crumbling structure.

TOM WAUGH – People’s Choice Award.
At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking Waugh’s gallery had accidentally left his sculptures in the box. He features the common outlines of the trash that might float on the corners of streets when the bin men are on strike; but look a little closer, and you’ll realise all his works are made from stone and marble cut-offs. This creates a startling balance between the decadence of a traditionally revered stone and the worthlessness of rubbish; and brings a sunrise over those relationships inside us all.

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NAOMI EDMONDSON – Street Art Award.
Edmondson draws heavily on her own personal life experience in her street art. Her work is unashamedly loud, proud and confrontational. That’s okay though – these are issues which we cannot, as a society, ignore any further. Drawing heavily from her own experiences with anxiety and depression, brave, life-affirming mantras such as “Love them? Tell them” and our personal favourite “I am enough” feature, forcing the viewer to reach deep inside themselves, and analyse their own self-worth.

Love what you see? Work by all of these artists, and more winners, is currently available on Rise Art’s website, here. Make sure you follow all your faves from the competition, and sign up to Rise Art’s mailing list to hear about more cutting-edge art.

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