Out of more than 650 submissions, Kat Anderson’s film installation drawing on the racism of public health and police institutions is named winner of the East London Art Prize.
Kat Anderson has been named the inaugural winner of Bow Arts’ new East London Art Prize, receiving £15,000 and a solo exhibition at the Nunnery Gallery for their video installation, John, which explores representations of mental illness and trauma as experienced by Black bodies in media.
The announcement took place at the Nunnery Cafe and Gallery last week, which lies just off busy Bow Road down a narrow cobbled alleyway illuminated by dozens of suspended neon lights. Inside, friends and family of the 12 shortlisted artists gathered to mix, mingle and admire their works that spanned a wide range of media including film, ceramics, painting and sculpture.
Launched in May 2022, the East London Art Prize invited submissions exclusively from artists living or working in an ‘E’ postcode area, receiving more than 650 applications.
Anderson said: ‘The group show was pride enough for me to be featured with so many talented people and excellent judges, and I was so stunned when I heard them announce my name.
‘The next part is such a huge opportunity for raising my profile as an artist, and to be supported by a team like Bow Arts to help develop the solo exhibition is unquantifiable.’
Varied in subject matter as well as form, the shortlisted works reflect the diverse nature of our East London community: from a glazed ceramic torso suspended from the gallery’s slanted roof to a pair of white papier-mache boots confronting the irrational psychology behind Western shopping habits.
Second prize of a year’s free studio space at Bow Arts was awarded to Cora Sehgal Cuthbert for her short film based on the experience of navigating everyday life as a disabled person.
Making the difficult selection process was a panel of four East London artists and art critics including Larry Achiampong and Louisa Buck who bestowed the awards.
Receiving the prize from Achiampong, Anderson said: ‘Larry is a friend and an artist I respect so much and it was so moving and lovely to hear what he said about the judge’s rationale for choosing my work.’
Contrary to their shortlisted work which was shot, edited and installed over a total of seven weeks, Anderson said they were looking forward to approaching their work for the solo exhibition with a longer-term vision, allowing for more rest, space and good mental health to tackle such sensitive and heavy subject matters. The solo exhibition will be developed in conjunction with Bow Arts, taking place at the Nunnery Gallery in 2024.
Buck said: ‘All sorts of extraordinary stories have been told [in the shortlist] – expressions of the sheer range of what art can communicate. The shortlist truly demonstrates what an incredibly creative destination East London is.’
The shortlist exhibition is running until Sunday 19 February 2023, open everyday from 10am – 4pm.
If you’re looking to be inspired by more local art, find our roundup of art exhibitions in East London this winter.
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