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Woon Prize winner Chika Annen (centre), with second prize winner Lily Kemp (left) and third prize winner Irini Stamatiadis (right).
Woon Prize winner Chika Annen (centre), with second prize winner Lily Kemp (left) and third prize winner Irini Stamatiadis (right).

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Woon Foundation Art and Sculpture Prize 2019 winner announced

The 2019 winner of one of the UK’s most generous art prizes has been announced during a ceremony at Northumbria University.

Chika Annen, from the UCL Slade School of Fine Art, was awarded the Woon Foundation Art and Sculpture Prize for her unique installation, entitled Fluffy.

She will receive a £20,000 year-long fellowship, including studio space at Northumbria and a final exhibition, as well as mentoring by staff from Northumbria University and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, which jointly host the prize.

Two generous runner-up prizes of £9,000 and £6,000 have also been awarded. Second prize went to Lily Kemp from Wimbledon College of Arts for her paintings, Vertigo and My Reflection. Third prize was awarded to Irini Stamatiadis from Central Saint Martins, in London for her work, 101 Porous Suns.

Speaking about her win, Chika Annen said: “I would like to thank the Woon Foundation, Northumbria University and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art for offering such great opportunities for emerging artists, including international artists.

“I am proud to be involved in this great exhibition with different artists from around UK. After winning this prize, I am really looking forward to being based here at Northumbria University from October.”

The Woon Foundation Art and Sculpture Prize was established in 2012 by Northumbtria University alumnus Wee Teng Woon, who along with his three brothers set up the Woon Brothers Foundation, which funds the prize each year.

The prize ceremony took place at the Woon Gallery of Asian Art – a collection of Buddhist and Asian art loaned by the Woon Brothers Foundation to Northumbria University last year. Sitting alongside contemporary pieces by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Damien Hirst and Andy Warhol, the new gallery is housed within Northumbria’s University Gallery.

Speaking during the prize giving ceremony, Professor Andrew Wathey CBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Northumbria University, said: “Since it was established in 2012 the Woon Foundation Art and Sculpture Prize has launched the careers of many successful artists. With a record number of applications this year, the prize is becoming a landmark in the UK art landscape.”

Previous Woon Foundation Art and Sculpture Prize winners have gone on to forge highly successful careers. Holly Hendry, who was crowned the winner of the first Woon Art Prize in 2013, has since gone onto stage a number of successful solo exhibitions, including Wrot at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in 2017.

This year it was announced that Holly’s 2016 installation Gut Feelings (Stromatolith) had recently been acquired by the Arts Council Collection – a collection of modern British art which is made available to public institutions through loans and exhibitions.

Fellow artist Joy Labinjo, who won the Woon Art Prize in 2017, has also found success, launching her first solo exhibition Belonging at Morely Gallery in London less than a year later.

Other previous winners include Ramona Zoladek in 2014, Kayt Hughes in 2015, Becca Halliwell-Sutton in 2016 and Kara Chin last year.

This year 10 artists were shortlisted for the Woon Foundation Art and Sculpture Prize. Their work is currently being exhibited at Northumbria’s University Gallery.

Find out more about the Woon Foundation Art and Sculpture Prize here.

Fluffy by Chika Annen

From L-R: Professor Andrew Wathey CBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Northumbria University; Professor Dean Hughes, head of the Department of Arts at Northumbria; BALTIC Director Sarah Munro; and Mr Wee Teng Woon; pictured with the winner of the 2019 Woon Foundation Art and Sculpture Prize Chika Annen (front).

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