A few months ago, I was scrolling through Instagram, as per usual, and I kept coming across an advertisement for an exhibition prize. The page seemed authentic, didn’t seem too expensive and it looked to have a lot of coverage. As I clicked through to see more details – and if there was a brief – it started to look like quite a good opportunity.
As I planted the idea of applying for the Brixton Art Prize Award in my head, I began to mentally flick through all my projects and how I might submit. I returned to the official site a few times to read through their guidelines, and found, I could contact them and enquire about a free application, available for people on benefits. I also found some wonderful tips and tricks for filling general art competition applications.
With a free application at my fingertips and an open brief, I was ready to begin the process with my photography project White Gaze, The Way We See You.
Now it was time to play the waiting game for the shortlisted artists. It was announced on May 31st 2022 on the BAP Instagram. Out of 723 applicants, the shortlisted artists amounted to roughly 40, and I was one of them!!
The exhibition shortlist show was to be on the 1st of June, so we had to get our work to the space by the 27th May. I contacted my usual local printers; Colourstream, and bought my frame with a mount online.
Collected the print, received the frame, opened up the frame, framed the print, packaged it back in the frame box, and sent it first class signed for.
The day of the show arrived and I got my glad rags on, bought my train ticket to Brixton and made my way! Meeting my husband their, we entered a large boujie space, the kind you could only find in London, called The Department Store “[…]a development by architects Squire & Partners, which revives a local Brixton landmark to create a series of collaborative workspaces supported by an evolving hub of creative, retail and community uses.”
As we ascended the iron spiral staircase, we were met with a burst of people, colour and waves off chatter. Weaving in and out of the eccentric costumes adorned by characters with an energy that made you feel like a ball in a pinball machine, we bounced from one piece to the next. There was a mixture of work, from fine art, to animation, from sculpture to, well, pieces I simply don’t know how to put into words.
It was an odd feeling – being in this space, with these people. It felt like I had arrived at a point in my life and become a person I have always been working towards, a huge milestone. It’s not like I haven’t exhibited before or hit other milestones, but whenever I do, I almost can’t believe it, and when I get this feeling I do say to myself “but why Jade, this is what you’ve worked towards, you never gave up, so why is it such a shock?” and I think that’s where the real odd feeling lies; knowing that I was always working towards it, yet, I still can’t believe it once I get there.
It was time to announce the winners, there were 4 prizes, 1st was £1000 and a solo show, 2nd £750, 3rd £500 and 4th was £250 of art vouchers. As much as I would have wanted to win, of course, I’d had such a fantastic experience and wonderful feeling within myself, feelings of achievement, inspiration, pride and even more motivation. I take my hat off to the 4 amazing Womxn (of colour might I add) who stole the show and I can’t wait to see more from them, and who knows, maybe even find myself collaborating or exhibiting with another one of the exhibitors in the future.
Until then, I am working on some other projects, I would like to take the project White Gaze to another level… just wait and see…