BP Portrait Award 2004 Winner

Artist's portrait of his wife and miracle baby wins £25,000

The winner of the prestigious BP Portrait Award 2004 was announced at a ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery on Monday 21 June.

The winner of the BP Portrait Award 2004 is Stephen Shankland for The Miracle

Stephen Shankland (b.1971) is a Scottish artist and graphic designer living and working in Aberdeenshire. He studied at Grays School of Art and has exhibited widely, including in the BP Portrait Award 1999. The Miracle is a portrait of Stephen's wife Kelly and son Connor, who was born prematurely in January 2003. Doctors thought Connor might not live through the night but he is now a healthy 17 month-old child.

Stephen Shankland said " The Miracle is a painted tribute to the strength and courage of my wife and the strong will to survive of my son. After spending a month at our son's bedside following his birth with a diaphragmatic hernia, doctors nicknamed him 'the little miracle'."

Stephen wins £25,000 and a commission, at the National Portrait Gallery Trustees' discretion, worth £4,000. The Miracle is painted in oil on board and measures 660x610mm.

Second prize has been won by Paul Harris, for Louise Tiplady

Paul Harris (b.1967) wins £8,000 for this portrait of his business partner Louise Tiplady. Paul is an artist and stonemason based in Herefordshire. He studied Fine Art at Camberwell School of Art before taking an Advanced Diploma in architectural masonry and carving at Weymouth College. After working as a stonemason on Hereford Cathedral he set up his own stone carving and masonry business in Leominster. Louise Tiplady is painted in oil on canvas and measures 519x422mm.

Third prize has been won by Fergus Mayhew, for Head Full of Smiles

Fergus Mayhew (b.1963) wins £4,000 for a portrait of his mother, Bunty. Fergus studied at the Royal Academy and is now a full-time father living in Totnes, Devon. He has been a regular exhibitor in the BP Portrait Award in recent years but this is the first time he has been a prize-winner. The portrait is in acrylic and oil on board and measures 470x385mm.

Fourth prize has been won by Sara Shamma, for Self-portrait

Sara Shamma (b.1975) is a Syrian artist living and working in Damascus. She is a graduate of the Adham Ismail fine arts institute and Damascus University where she studied fine art. She has exhibited and won awards in Syria as well as contributing to group shows in Europe, Canada and the Middle East. Her short-listed portrait is one of an ongoing series of self-portraits and she wins £2,000. The portrait is oil on canvas and measures 1474x1152mm.
Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, said : "Stephen Shankland's The Miracle is exquisitely painted; it is an emotional painting and a worthy winner in a year in which there was very tough competition."

Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts and Culture, BP, said "The superb quality of these winning paintings, together with the record number of entries for this year's prize, demonstrates again the vitality and health of portraiture today."

The BP Travel Award is an annual award of £4,000, which allows young artists to expand their horizons. This year's Award has been won by Darvish Fakhr for his proposal to travel to Iran and paint portraits of local people in the old Persian bazaar. Darvish will travel to Tehran, where he will stay with his Iranian wife's parents for a month and rent a studio in the artist's quarter of the Tehran bazaar. A selection of his portraits will be displayed alongside the BP Portrait Award 2005 next summer.

Last year the Travel Award was won by Ukrainian artist, Ulyana Gumeniuk , who travelled to St Petersburg in Russia. Ulyana had previously studied at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts before attending St Martins College, London, and returned to the city to build on her experience of mural painting. She later undertook a commission for the Orthodox Ukrainian church before travelling to small villages in the Ukraine and Russia where she selected sixteen people to sit for her, interviewing them as she painted. Examples of her work are shown alongside the BP Portrait Award 2004 from 17 June - 19 September 2004.

A fully-illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition with an introductory essay by Blake Morrison. BP Portrait Award 2004 will be published in June 2004, 190 x 125mm, 80 pages with 60 colour illustrations, price £7.50 (paperback). All of the exhibited portraits may be purchased as digital prints from the Portrait Printer in the Gallery's main shop'

Notes to Editors

  • The BP Portrait Award and Travel Award exhibition runs at the National Portrait Gallery, London, until 19 September 2004 and admission is free. The exhibition will tour to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter (2 October - 13 November 2004), Aberdeen Art Gallery (4 December 2004 - 22 January 2005) and the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol (27 February - 26 March 2005).
  • This year the BP Portrait Award received a record 955 entries, compared to 858 last year. 54 portraits have been selected for display at the Gallery - 43 from the UK and 11 from abroad.
  • The competition was judged from original paintings by this year's panel: Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery (Chair); Susan Ferleger Brades, Director, Hayward Gallery; John Keane, Artist; Trevor Phillips OBE, Chair, Commission for Racial Equality; Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts and Culture, BP.
  • Last year the BP Portrait Award received 160,198 visitors.
  • The National Portrait Gallery is open daily from 10am - 6pm (Gallery closure commences at 5.50pm) and Thursdays and Fridays until 9pm (Gallery closure commences at 8.50pm). Recorded information: 020 7312 2463 General information : 020 7306 0055 Website: www.npg.org.uk

For further press information please contact Hazel Sutherland, Press Officer, National Portrait Gallery, Tel 020 7312 2452 (not for publication) Email hsutherland@npg.org.uk

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