In April, local artist and Boynes Emerging Artist Award founder Chantal Boynes expressed hope the fourth edition would finally see Caribbean artists entering the competition. And Boynes had her desire fulfilled as several Trinidadian artists entered and a Jamaican placed second overall.
The award is an independent, international artist-run online art competition that accepts all two-dimensional mediums from drawings to paintings to photography. There is no set theme for the international competition and artists are required to submit the best of their portfolio. It was launched in 2019 and “created to support, promote and connect emerging artists all around the world and work to enhance the profile of young and/or undiscovered talent.”
Boynes told Newsday in a telephone interview the number of entries for the fourth edition was 909, almost double the 470 from the third edition. The artists were mainly from Australia, Canada, the US and the UK as well as some countries in Europe.
And for the first time, there were Caribbean entrants: about 10 from Trinidad and Tobago and one from Jamaica, Kuruma Reid.
“I recognised the work instantly and I got excited personally that there were fellow Caribbean artists.”
She explained in the first round she and the other judges only look at the work, and the examination of who the applicants are as an artist only occurs in the final round. When she discovered Kuruma Reid was from Jamaica and had recently graduated law school she recalled having a “big smile”.
Reid, who was born and raised in Jamaica, won second place with his piece Black Molasses 1, which was pen and ink on paper.
“Black Molasses 1 is the first of my series Metamorphosis. The piece is not only to mark a different level of skill and originality I intend to improve upon but to also pay homage to my African ancestors and the blood that was shed during slavery,” he said in a statement.
On his win, Reid commented: “I am extremely happy to be named the second-place winner in the fourth edition of the Boynes Emerging Artist Award. I am comforted by the thought that my piece was found to be worthy of the prize in the eyes of the esteemed jurors who I had taken the time to research.”
First place went to Younes Mohammad from Iraq with his photography portrait Brahim.
On his subject, Mohammad explained: “Brahim Ahmad Ebrahim Ghader was born in 1969, he (has been) Peshmerga (military forces of the autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq) since 1993 and during this time, two times he was wounded (and) last time he was fighting ISIS in May 2015 and he lost two legs with one eye and a lot of shrapnel in his body by the explosion from an IED in Daqoq area near Kirkuk, Iraq.”
On his win, Mohammad commented: “Thank you very much for this honourable news, I cannot believe it and am so happy and grateful, really appreciate it and it means a lot to me. Thanks again and again.”
Third place went to Israel-born, Germany-based artist Amnon David for his oil on canvas piece Life Itself. David explained the painting “is the first work of an ongoing series of large scale works I am currently working on, representing my interpretation of the different stages in the cycle of life from today’s point of view.”
Commenting on his win he said: “Thank you very much. I am of course delighted to receive the results!”
For the fourth edition, which ran from January 18 to April 30, the judging panel comprised of Boynes, fashion photographer Natasha Wilson, former art professor Noah Verrier, Nigerian visual artis Ken Nwadiogbu, and internationally-renowned artist Dennis Perrin. Boynes said this edition was the most difficult to judge.
“The quality of work went up enormously. It was hard to judge the finalists and then the winners. It took over three weeks when it is usually two weeks. So much incredible talent. It was exceptionally difficult.”
The first-place winner receives a three-month PR contract (including media and gallery outreach) with PR for Artists (worth US$15,000). The second-place winner receives US $1,500 cash prize, and the third-place winner receives US $1,000 cash prize.
All three winners receive social media/digital marketing (worth US$2,500) while finalists receive social media/digital marketing (worth US$1,000). All winners and finalists also receive an artist profile (worth US$1,500) and a permanent place on the website.
Boynes reported over the next couple of months the award will be promoting the finalists and winners and supporting their work. She said the PR team, led by PR for Artists CEO Aubrie Weinholt, has already met for the first of many strategy sessions with the first-place winner, Mohammad, “and they have already begun to hit the ground running”.
The first edition was won by Bulgaria-born, Belgium-based painter Tanya Atanasova, the second by Texan artist Jessie Lane, and the third by Australian artist Cameron Richards.
Boynes said the fifth edition will launch on August 1, 2021, and will include sculpture for the first time as one of its accepted mediums. She expressed hope the next edition will attract even more Caribbean artists and Trini artists.
For more info on Boynes Emerging Artist Award or to submit artwork: boynesartistaward.com.
About Chantal Boynes
Boynes has studied and practised fine art all over the world, from Canada to Italy to Australia to TT, and has exhibited locally and internationally, namely Australia, Jamaica, and Switzerland.
In late 2019, while completing a diploma of visual art in Melbourne, Australia, she decided to expand her involvement in the art world and with other artists by attempting to create a way for fellow emerging artists to have a platform that was solely dedicated to the support of their talent. On November 1, 2019, she launched the Boynes Emerging Artist Award, put up the US$5,000 prize out of her own savings and was the sole judge.