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Artist Hamza wins Charman Prize for The Other

Art winners: from left are Scott Stallard, Natalie Dyrli, Alia Hamza, Sharon Wilson and Paul Blackbourn (Photograph supplied)

Artist Alia Hamza has been awarded this year’s Charman Prize for a mixed media work in copper and glass.

Her piece, called The Other, beat nearly 120 other works to win the top award of $10,000 in the competition established by art lover and island businessman John Charman.

Ms Hamza said: “The Other began for me as an exercise in understanding and processing certain painful experiences. It subsequently became a path to healing. Art does this and I am so grateful for the Charman Prize and the amazing team at Masterworks for unknowingly conspiring by providing such a wonderful opportunity.

“To have shared space with such stellar artists is incredible to me.

“What has made the whole experience richer is having the guidance and support of some of the most incredibly talented and loving people.

“To Oliver and company at Dockyard Glassworks, the staff at Bermuda Air Conditioning who wondered what craziness I was up to with all that copper, and to Michael Walsh, a special thank you. Thank you for sharing the journey,

“I am in no way celebrating alone. Here’s to committing, creating and completing.”

Ms Hamza was announced as the winner of the biennial competition at Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art in the Botanical Gardens in Paget on Friday at the start of the exhibition of entrants’ work.

The award is open to artists based in Bermuda and Bermudians abroad.

It is designed to promote artwork inspired by Bermuda as well as honour and support contemporary artists.

Other winners of the night included Paul Blackbourn, who won the $5,000 emerging artist award.

Jury members were Laszlo Cser, a professional conservationist from Toronto, Linda Wilde, an American art lecturer and historian, and Robin Light, the owner and founder of London’s Crane Kalman Gallery.

Judges’ Choice awards of $2,000 each were also awarded.

Mr Light chose a work by Valerie Brown, Ms Wilde opted for art by Scott Stallard and Mr Cser picked a piece by Natalie Dyrli. The Masterworks Choice award was won by Sharon Wilson.

Mr Charman established the prize in 2008 when Masterworks found a permanent home in the Botanical Gardens.

He said: “For 2017, the Charman Prize has a theme of the ‘Bermuse’ — essentially anything that that term inspires in the artist.

“I spent much of my early life in Italy — a country blessed at seemingly every corner with a richness of visual arts created over the centuries.

“It is this inherent, deeply-rooted passion for the arts that has helped me understand the critical role art plays in positively contributing to our community, our culture and our national identity and pride.

“I am very proud, as well as being delighted, to acknowledge the quality, diversity and high standards of all the 119 pieces that grace these walls — the largest number of entries ever submitted.”

Mr Charman added: “First and foremost, it all starts with the artists — all of whom have used their artistic and creative talents to prove to the world that Bermuda is an artistic force to be reckoned with; small but mighty.”

This year’s awards were judged by an international panel of experts on four criteria as well as the Bermuda theme.

The artwork was rated on design and composition, use of material, distinctive and convincing style, and source of inspiration.

The entries will be displayed in the Butterfield Family Gallery until February 15 next year and all works on display in the competition are for sale.

For more information about the Charman Prize, contact 299-4000.