Painting alumni wins prestigious emerging artist prize

Pippa El-Kadhi Brown, a graduate of BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting, has won the overall Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize 2020 – one of the world’s most coveted awards for up and coming artists.

Launched in 2014, the prize was established by law firm Ashurst and art consultancy Oaktree & Tiger to support and mentor emerging artists and provide them with a platform to showcase their work.

Over 3,850 artists from around the world submitted work, with Pippa, a graduate from the class of 2018, claiming the top prize. She has received £3,000, a solo exhibition at Ashurst and £500 of CASS Art vouchers.

Pippa’s work explores how we interact with space, and consider the domestic home as our ‘natural environment’, an ever-evolving habitat which we have adapted to both merge with and coexist beside. Her paintings will be on display at Ashurst from 9 November and will run until April 2021.

Now studying an MA in painting at The Royal College of Art under The Ali H. Alkazzi Scholarship Award, Pippa describes the win as an incredible opportunity: “It feels like an enormous achievement – a pinnacle breakthrough in my practice. When I consider the large number of submissions that were made from all corners of the world, I feel quite overwhelmed.

“I am at an exciting point in my creative journey, still with so much to discover and explore. I am continuously learning more and more about my practice and to progress with the support of The Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize beside me, gives me a wonderful burst of inspiration and confidence.

“The gallery is in a beautiful building, located opposite the bustling Spitalfields Market. It’s my first solo show of this scale. I’m so excited”.

Since leaving Brighton two years ago, Pippa has been collaborating and exhibiting in the UK and abroad, including China and Latvia. She looks back at her time at Grand Parade with fondness: “Brighton has such a lively and inclusive vibe to it and I will forever look back at my time there as a student with a smile. The location was a huge part of my experience, particularly the beach; In the winter we admired it from afar and in the summer, we practically lived on it. Brighton is small in size but definitely mighty in character.

“It’s a place like no other, a really vibrant area to live in and such a beautiful place to study art. Reflecting back from the first year of my BA to my last, I grew so much as an artist, always being supported and encouraged by my tutors to experiment and push myself.

“I’m still greatly connected to the artwork that I made there, including my piece Takeaway? which is a large part of the Ashurst Emerging Artists Prize! It’s where I really developed the foundations of my practice today and where I fell deeply in love with the process of painting.”

Reflecting on the achievement, Alexander Pollard, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Painting and a former teacher of Pippa’s, said: “Pippa worked really hard at the University of Brighton and produced ambitious intuitive works with a lot of confidence. She had natural ability from the start but she focused and really engaged with the course and the discussions within the department. I am delighted that she has now had success as Pippa is an extremely nice person as well as being a very talented artist.”

As well as her opportunity at Ashurst and MA at The Royal College of Art, Pippa is working on a clothing collaboration with Boutique Kaotique to raise money for the Gendered Intelligence and Create for the NHS, an art exhibition to raise money for the NHS.

Visit Pippa’s website and follow her work on Instagram.

Find out more about BA(Hons) Fine Art Painting

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