Diana Brooks Prize
All artists aged 35 or under, who are exhibiting at Art for Youth London, are eligible for the Diana Brooks Prize.
The prize-winning work is the personal choice of Diana Brooks, who founded the exhibition in 1987. Entry for the prize is free, and it serves as an artistic encouragement for the prize-winner, who receives £1,000.
The 2019 winner of the Diana Brooks Prize went to the artist, Max Baccanello, who has exhibited with the Pastel Society at Mall Galleries, where he won the Unison Colour Young Artist Award, and the Chelsea Arts Society, where he won the Green and Stone Art Prize.
After graduating from Shrewsbury School, where he was awarded the art scholarship, Max attended a foundation course in fine art at Chelsea College of Art and Design at the University of Arts London. After completing this course, Max studied at Charles H Cecil Studio in Florence, Italy, where tuition was focused on academic portraiture in the lineage of traditional representational art and sight size technique.
Eversleigh Investment and Property Co Ltd is the current sponsor of the Diana Brooks Prize. Privately owned by a family with a deep interest and involvement in the Arts, the organisation is involved in the team creation and management of operational environments.
Afshin Naghouni Reach Prize
This prize is awarded by the artist Afshin Naghouni for artistic excellence with a focus on diversity and social inclusion. Entry for the prize is free. In 2019, the winner of the award was Sharon Walters.
Sharon Walters is a West London based artist whose current series 'Seeing Ourselves' explores identity, beauty standards and race through hand assembled collage. The pieces use magazines and photographs and are inspired by botanical, natural beauty and urban scenes and the beauty of natural afro hair. Since graduating with a degree in Fine Art from Central St Martins in London in 2011, she has developed her practice and continued her work with community arts organisations and museums. Both her art practice and work in the heritage sector aims to provide platforms for those under-represented in the mainstream. Each collage is a reaffirmation of the right to 'take up space' and be seen.
Sharon said, “It is such an honour to win the Reach Prize 2019 for diversity and social inclusion. As an emerging artist, I feel 'seen' by the art establishment where so often I am under-represented. The prize has been the first step towards widening my audience and developing the work I feel passionately compelled to create. I would like to thank everyone involved, especially the prize founder Caitlin Mavroleon, for her dedication and love of the arts.”
The Parker Prize is funded anonymously and is awarded by the artist Alice Shirley for creative excellence. Entry for the prize is free and the prize-winner receives £1,000. In 2019 long-standing Art for Youth London volunteer and artist, Keith Nichols, won the Parker Prize.
Keith Nichols told us, “I am inspired by the natural world and the extreme qualities of light that reveal the fabric and undulation of land, sea and sky, storm and turmoil. I’m drawn to the edges of things and my concerns over the vulnerability of wild places and the lives they support is an important aspect of my working ethos. I reflect upon my own emotional responses to the sights, sounds and smells that I experience, hoping to bring an added dimension to the abstracted realities I paint. I return to a place many times to find a newer sense of expression. My work is expressive and experimental; freely applied paint reflects natural movement and emotional context. The concealing and removal of layers of paint creates a history pertinent to each work. Works are held in private collections, both in the UK and internationally.”
“Being awarded the Parker Prize at Art for Youth London means the world to me. The fact that an incredible artist such as Alice Shirley values your work in such a way is a huge validation and makes all those times of self-doubt and struggle worthwhile. It’s inspired me to work harder and given me a new feeling of self-belief. The money from the prize has enabled me to push forwards with new ideas and concepts – giving me breathing space to do so. Thank you for this privilege.”
Max Baccanello, 2019 winner of the Diana Brooks Prize
Sharon Walters, 2019 winner of the Afshin Naghouni Reach Prize
Keith Nichols, 2019 winner of the Parker Prize, with Alice Shirley