The BP Portrait Award is the most prestigious portrait competition in the world, promoting the very best in contemporary portrait painting. With a first prize of £25,000, the exhibition has proved to be the launch pad for the careers of a number of successful portrait artists.
From a record entry of over 1,900 artists, this year’s exhibition will present fifty-six selected portraits, including the three shortlisted artists - Annalisa Avancini for Manuel, Michael Gaskell for Tom and Peter Monkman for Changeling 2 - alongside the work of the BP Travel Award 2008 winner Emmanouil Bitsakis who visited China in celebration of the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
From intimate and personal images of friends and family, such as Carey Clarke’s touching portrait of his daughter, Michelle and Ben Edge’s portrait of his grandfather, The Animal Handler, to revealing portraits of celebrity sitters such as Lee Fether’s portrait of Gail Porter, the exhibition presents a variety of styles and approaches that together illustrate the vitality of contemporary portrait painting.
by Mary Jane Ansell, 2009
© Mary Jane Ansell