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World's most innovative new portraits go on display in Wolverhampton
Pieter by Susanne du Toit, 2013 © Susanne du Toit.

WOLVERHAMPTON.- Paintings from the most prestigious portrait competition in the world are to go on display at Wolverhampton Art Gallery from 1 March – 14 June 2014. Nearly 2,000 artists from 77 countries entered the BP Portrait Award 2013, with 55 of the most outstanding and innovative entries selected for the exhibition by a panel of expert judges. With paintings ranging from informal and personal studies of friends and family to revealing portraits of famous faces, the exhibition features artworks which use a variety of styles and approaches to the contemporary painted portrait.

Among the familiar faces featured in the exhibition are paintings of former Labour strategist and spokesperson Alastair Campbell, American philosopher Noam Chomsky, artist Frida Kahlo and singer/songwriter Emeli Sandé. The exhibition also includes a number of paintings by Carl Randall who won the BP Travel Award in 2012 and as part of his prize, was commissioned to produce a series of works inspired by a journey across Japan.

Visitors to Wolverhampton Art Gallery will be able to see the portrait Pieter by Susanne du Toit which won the Award’s First Prize, along with Second Prize winner The Uncertain Time by John Devane. There will also be opportunity to view the paintings which won the Young Artist Prize and the 2013 BP Travel Award, as well as the visitors’ choice winner, Kholiswa by Lionel Smit, which was voted for by the public at the National Portrait Gallery.

The Portrait Award has been held at the National Portrait Gallery in London for the last 34 years, and is now in its 24th year of sponsorship by BP. The exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery will be the final stop for the BP Portrait Award 2013, which was first shown at the National Portrait Gallery last summer (20 June – 15 September 2013) and more recently at Aberdeen Art Gallery (2 November 2013 – 1 February 2014). The Art Gallery has hosted the BP Portrait Award exhibitions previously in 2011 and 2008.

Corinne Miller, Head of Culture, Arts and Heritage for Wolverhampton City Council commented: “We are really looking forward to welcoming the BP Portrait Award back to Wolverhampton Art Gallery. This exhibition is always very popular with our visitors, and this is testament to the broad range of portraits across both subject matter and style, not to mention the vast amount of international talent on display.”

The BP Portrait Award 2013 runs at Wolverhampton Art Gallery from 1 March – 14 June 2014 and entry is free.

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