On Thursday 21st March, at a special preview of the exhibition, the winner of the fifth Young Cumbrian Artist of the Year was announced as Poppy Cookson who wins the £250 prize alongside the opportunity to take up a short residency at the Penrith Old Fire Station as part of Eden Arts Artists Spare Room scheme.
Poppy Cookson, a student at the University of Cumbria who presented a body of work exploring the relationships between humans and non-humans, was chosen by the panel made up of Maddi Nicholson (artist, founder and director of Art Gene), Celia Burbush (artist, winner of the Cumbrian Artist of the Year Award 2017) and Jocelyn McGregor (artist, shortlisted for the Cumbrian Artist of the Year award 2017). They said of her work ‘Poppy’s work deals with big political issues with a maturity beyond her years. She is definitely somebody to watch in the future’.
‘I am over the moon to win the award,’ said Poppy, ‘I can’t quite believe it. It has been a fantastic opportunity and I am so glad I applied. I think this will definitely open doors for me and I am really excited for what is to come’.
The other artists shortlisted were Calum Eccleston with his installation and performance piece, Mel Galley who submitted hand-made books with creative writing, Georgia White with an installation piece, Robin Little who submitted a video work and Adam Mennell with a photography series.
The Young Cumbrian Artist of the Year received entries from 15 – 24 year old artists working in a range of media from across the county. Twenty of these were selected for the exhibition held at the Vallum Gallery, Institute of the Arts at the Brampton Road Campus of the University of Cumbria which will be open from 21st March to 25th April. They also feature in an online gallery on the Eden Arts website which will stay live after the exhibition has ended.
Adrian Lochhead, Director of Eden Arts said ‘I am always amazed by this exhibition. The variety and quality of the work is of a very high standard and the enthusiasm displayed by the young artists is exceptional. I can highly recommend a visit to see this years offering’, he continued, ‘We have kept in touch with previous winners and continue to work with them in some instances. It really is a great opportunity.’
Laura Baxter, curator at the Vallum Gallery, added ‘The Vallum is privileged to host such a wide variety of creative talent and we really encourage all of those who participated to continue their work in the arts’.
The Young Cumbrian Artist of the Year started in 2014 and has been awarded to 4 different artists since its inception. These artists have ranged in disciplines with a photographer, animator, film maker and installation artist winning the top prize over the years. The project champions the creative talent in Cumbria and offers the opportunity to apply and exhibit in a professionally executed exhibition.
Eden Arts, the arts organisation behind the Young Cumbria Artist of the Year award is an artist led company based in Penrith, Cumbria dedicated to creating and facilitating change through culture and arts activities. Eden Arts projects include The Winter Droving festival in Penrith which attracts audiences of over 20,000, Picnic Cinema, the North’s number one outdoor cinema and Cine North, a community cinema scheme which operates across the whole of the North of England.
To view the work online go to www.edenarts.co.uk/projects/ycaoty