Women artists championed by painting prize

The Holly Bush Emerging Woman Painter Prize 2022 - Julie Saddi with her painting Ruby and the Chair

The Holly Bush Emerging Woman Painter Prize 2022 was won by Julie Saddi with her painting Ruby and the Chair - Credit: Courtesy of the artist

The Holly Bush Emerging Woman Painter Prize started off small in a Hampstead pub with the aim of correcting the gender imbalance in the art world.

Seven years on, it's still sponsored by the Holly Bush, Cass Art, and West Hampstead actor Dame Emma Thompson, but has grown to become the biggest art prize dedicated solely to women in the UK.

With additional awards for sculptors and artists of African or Caribbean heritage added in recent years, the 2022 winners are now on show at Lauderdale House in Highgate.

Runner up was Jo Richards and her painting 21st Century Girls 

Runner up was Jo Richards and her painting 21st Century Girls - Credit: Courtesy of the artist

They include overall winner Ruby and the Chair by Julie Saddi, and joint winners of the Susan Angoy Prize for an Artist of African or Caribbean Heritage; Venetta Nicole with her work Lucid Dreaming, and Yeside Linney for Emergence.

Yeside Linney with her work Emergence

Joint winner of the Susan Angoy Prize for an Artist of African or Caribbean Heritage was Yeside Linney with her work Emergence - Credit: Courtesy of the artist

Art historian and curator Sue Ecclestone founded the prize after observing that women are less likely to have their work shown in London galleries and earn less than their male counterparts. She has now set up Women in Art Community Interest Company to run the prize and help develop the careers of women artists.

"Women are not treated equally in the art world, they are underrepresented in galleries and undervalued in auctions and sales,"  she said. "While things are improving we still have a long way to go to have parity with male artists. The inequality exists for many reasons but we at Women in Art CiC can, through the Holly Bush Emerging Woman Painter Prize champion and mentor women."

Venetta Nicole with her work Lucid Dreaming 

Joint winner of the Susan Angoy Prize for an Artist of African or Caribbean Heritage was Venetta Nicole with her work Lucid Dreaming - Credit: Courtesy of the artist

CIC board members including Gabrielle du Plooy from Hampstead's Zebra One Gallery, and noted artist Nicola Green is a patron.

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Ecclestone said they are now seeking a sponsor to help them grow - including finding expanded space to exhibit and help with admin.

"The prize not only gives recognition to the achievements of women artists, it gives them confidence that they should be valued equally alongside male artists. The exposure we give them through the prize brings them to a wider audience. The larger we grow the more women artists we can help."

Covid prevented an exhibition last year so winners and finalists from 2022 and 2021 are on display at Lauderdale House until July 4. Visit www.womeninartcic.co.uk