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Kleinwort Hambros announces winners of Emerging Artist Prize 2021

Initiative provides a platform to support and raise the profile of rising talent in UK contemporary art

Kleinwort Hambros is pleased to announce Shawanda Corbett, Ayo Akingbade and Olu Ogunnaike as the winners of its second Emerging Artist Prize, which recognises the work of contemporary artists from across the UK.

Three finalists were rewarded the Emerging Artist Prize this year out of fifteen candidates, in recognition of the wealth of talent amongst this year’s finalists, and to widen the financial support for young UK artists in what is a challenging economic and social environment. 

The winners were selected by a jury of five prestigious names from the UK art scene composed of Fiona Bradley, Aurélie Deplus, Andrew Nairne, Sarah Brown and Melanie Keen. The winners were chosen for having a body of work that showed significant originality and compelling visions.

Oxford based winner Shawanda Corbett practices in ceramics and is researching how Artificial Intelligence can facilitate craft theory in her studio practice. London based Ayo Akingbade focuses predominantly on moving image, addressing notions of urbanism, power and stance, and Olu Ogunnaike, also from London, explores the parallels between humans and trees, looking at questions of provenance, history and identity. 

Sarah Brown, Jury member and Principle Keeper of Leeds Art Gallery, said: “Ayo Akingbade, Shawanda Corbett and Olu Ogunnaike stood out from an incredibly competitive long list. Their work encompasses a broad media from film, ceramics, painting, installation to performance and sculpture, and addressed questions from provenance, history to post-colonial narrative with such intelligence, urgency and compelling visions, that each artist’s voice was confident, unique and personal. We recognised that each of their practice was at a critical stage and this award is pivotal to their development.” 

Aurélie Deplus, Jury member and Head of Contemporary Art Collection and Cultural Projects at Societe Generale, added: “It was a pleasure to discover this amazing selection of mature and self-committed emerging artists and their media, and to work alongside other jury members to study each winners’ body of work. I would like to thank all the artists and personally applaud the laureates.” 

Mouhammed Choukeir, CEO of Kleinwort Hambros, commented: “We are delighted to celebrate three winners this year out of such a talented and thriving community of artists living and working across the UK today. 

“What’s more, we are proud that we have been able to extend our support for young artists in what is a challenging time for the art community. The initiative demonstrates our commitment to supporting our communities in the UK regions and strengthens our ambition of being the leading responsible bank for client service and expertise.”

The Emerging Artist Prize was produced for the second time in collaboration with international art consultant, Katie Kennedy Perez. It seeks to acknowledge and celebrate the next generation of artists who have been active on the art scene and whose career would benefit from the visibility and financial support. The candidates are British nationals or UK based, 35 years or under, with a body of work that shows significant originality and coherence.