Holt Festival Art Prize Winners 2021

Holt Festival Art Prize Winners 2021

The winners of the Holt Festival Art Prizes, of which Sworders proudly sponsored two categories, were announced on Sunday 1 August.

4 August 2021

The Sir John Hurt Art Prize, and the more recently introduced Sworders Art Prizes which accompany it, are a momentous tribute to John's love and passion for the Arts, with entries from both regional and national, renowned and emerging artists, all with a shared eagerness to create.

Sunday’s event was attended by Sworders Director Luke Macdonald who announced the winners and presented the prizes for Sworders.


Luke Macdonald Announces Holt Art Prize Winners



Sir John Hurt Art Prize Winner 2021 




Barbara Nati Briny Chronicles

Barbara Nati
Briny Chronicles
digital collage


'The series is inspired by the acidification process in our oceans. This is caused by the considerable amount of carbon dioxide ending up in the water from the atmosphere as a further consequence of pollution. One of the effects it creates is living creatures such as shells and corals become so thin and fragile they turn transparent, almost invisible'.



Sworders Prize for Emerging Artists 2021




Rosie Phillips Chien D'Amour Holt Art Prize Winner  

Rosie Phillips
Chien d'amour
oil on canvas


‘The title for this was inspired by one of the many nicknames my dad has invented for the dog - this painting depicts a typical night in for the two’.





Phoebe Leach Mercy Sworders Holt Festival Art Prize 2021

Phoebe Leach


‘This portrait of my friend Mercy aims to honour identity and heritage, contrasting cultural influences with contemporary youth’.



Sworders Prize for Young Artists 2021




Mia Mack New Shoes Sworders Holt Festival Art Prize 

Mia Mack
New Shoes
oil on paper


‘Inspired during lockdown by how much music can change how you feel, I created this piece to capture my usual reaction to hearing the song New Shoes by Paolo Nutini – dancing. Given the subject of the song, I thought my favourite shoes should take centre stage and be in a musical environment, hence the drum-kit that lives in the garage where I took my reference photographs. I closely relate music with art and am fascinated by the impact that both can have on a person in a small space of time. It took approximately 50 hours to complete in oils’.





Sophie Duez Face Time Holt Festival Art Prizes  

Sophie Duez
Face Time
graphite on Stonehenge paper


‘In response to the growing pressures young people face with social media, Face Time is a surrealist portrait constructed using a 0.2mm mechanical HB pencil’.




Libby Ye Fluidity of the human Psyche

Libby Ye
Fluidity of the Human Psyche
oil on canvas


‘The predominantly skin-toned colour scheme reflects a flushed individual, whilst the sporadic streaks of cooler tones are reminiscent of lights flowing across a river. The incongruity between these two distinct spectrums of colours thus illustrates an individual whose very fluidity in identity strikes semblance with nature. The Chiaroscuro lighting from the right establishes a somewhat eerie mood, whilst the “absurd” pose reveals a figure unsatisfied with the norms in which individuals are expected to adhere to. This piece thus urges audiences to re-evaluate modern standards through illustrating the fluidity of the human psyche. After all, identities are fluid and evade generalisations’.






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