work by anja blau

Three Brighton art graduates shortlisted for Platform Graduate Award 2021

Nina Fisher, Anja Blau and Ainoa Burgos Gonzalez will be exhibiting at Brighton’s Phoenix Art Space after being shortlisted for a major South East art award.

The Platform Graduate Award is run by South East Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN), in partnership with leading galleries including Aspex in Portsmouth, MK Gallery in Milton Keynes, Modern Art Oxford, and Phoenix Art Space in Brighton. Selected artists will be featured in an exhibition at one of the four partner venues, with the Brighton trio showing at Phoenix Art Space from 9 October – 7 November.

The award supports emerging graduate artistic talent from universities across the south east region to further their practice following graduation, with the winner receiving a £2,000 bursary and 12 months of mentoring support from a practising artist.

Nina graduated from University of Brighton with Illustration BA(Hons), following art studies in her native Milan. Her practice includes traditional illustration, 3-D pieces and stop motion animation, in which she uses her often surreal visions to explore art as a form of therapy, as well as the inspiration she takes from the piano music of her composer father  – and his love of birdwatching.

Complementing a picture book of the same name, Nina’s short animation Mr Bird Watcher won the Best Animation award at the recent 2021 Matchbox Film Awards held at Brighton’s Plus X Innovation Hub. She has also created another book entitled A Snail Story.

Both Anja Blau and Ainoa Burgos Gonzalez graduated with Fine Art Sculpture BA(Hons) , but  explore 3D materials in very different ways. Anja creates metal sculptures, mirrors and installations from recycled and salvaged materials, inspired by the idea of ‘Beauty In The Broken’, while Ainoa combines sculpture and installation with performance, video and photography to explore subjects including beauty stereotypes, personal space and environmental concerns.

Speaking about her Brighton studies, Nina said: “The course in Brighton granted me a lot of freedom. The greatest part of the course involved its avant-garde approach which questions what illustration is and – most importantly – what it could be. It underlines the importance of experimenting, spontaneity and, playfulness, pushing you to get out of your comfort zone.”

Anja said: “It’s a wonderful finish to four years of studying and I’m proud of myself. Being able to share my degree piece in a professional show is the cherry on the cake. I came to University as a mature student, and Brighton really helped me find what I’m passionate about, what materials I like and which way I want to work. Thanks to the great staff and workshops I discovered a love for metal work and was able to explore this path.”

Ainoa added: “The Platform Graduate Award 2021 is an exciting opportunity to show my work together with other artists in a great art space. I have really enjoyed studying my degree at the University of Brighton and this is a great way to top it off.”

CVAN South East’s Manager Oliver Sumner said: “This award provides a much needed springboard for artists graduating from our local universities. It could not happen without the enduring engagement of our higher education partners, and of course this year’s four host venues in the CVAN South East network. My thanks go to them all, and most of all to the artists themselves who have amazed us despite the pandemic disruption of their final year.”











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