Since 2015 Unit G Gallery has run the Hackney WickED Art Prize competition at the Hackney WickED Open Studios and awarded a first-prize and runner-up status to artists with a studio open to the public over that weekend in Hackney Wick and Fish Island who have invited us to see their work and hear their stories. In 2015, painter Mick Dean was our winner, and painter Vanessa Mitter our runner-up; we gave them both an offer of a gallery exhibition, which they both took up in March and June 2016 respectively. In 2016 we had 16 artists on our longlist and selected 4 artists for our shortlist and a return studio visit. Out of these we chose a winner, painter and collagiste Christina BanBan from Mother Studios, and a runner-up, photographer Sinem Mucur from Lion Works.
In 2017, 15 Open Studios artists applied in advance to be on our longlist, and we selected 3 artists for a shortlist and return studio visit. Out of these we chose one winner, visual artist (painter, photographer and digital imager) Michael Worobec, from MotherX Studios, Queens Yard. That year’s Art Prize included £500 towards artist’s materials and a pre-arranged slot for us to curate his developing new collection ‘Fragments‘, for an exhibition in October to be held in Hackney Wick (Fish Island) itself. Our 2017 runner up was Jim Jack, from Bridget Riley Studios, with whom we delivered the solo exhibition Twists and Turns in September-October 2018.
An amazing range of artwork was seen on Saturday 27 July, created by the 15 long-listed artists who applied and whose studios were open as planned; this was firstly scored according to our previous successfully-used competition criteria. Then three shortlisted artists were visited again by us on Sunday 28th. The Prize Winner and Runner-up were finally determined by the Gallery team in consultation with the White Post Café team.
So our congratulations go out to the following artists:
1. Winner: Nina Mankin, from Mother X Studios, and her mini-installation sculptures – our solo show for her will be in November 2019
2. Runner-up: Beau Gabriel, from Britannia Works, and his classically-referenced oil paintings – solo show is planned for March 2020