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Artivism, raising awareness for the environment

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

In 2018, straight-talking Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, made international headlines by launching her school strike for climate movement. 

This was the beginning of her climate crusade against global leaders, calling for sweeping systemic change.  She represents the youth of today who are fighting for a brighter tomorrow.

Moving with the times, in 2019 David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) introduced a new ‘Human Impact’ category to their international annual Wildlife Artist of the Year competition and exhibition. The Human Impact category is open to younger artists and encourages protest and activism through their artworks and the use of creative abilities to highlight key environmental messages. 

In the words of Greta Thunberg, we must “march now or swim later”. It has never been more important to engage the eco-warriors of tomorrow, today if we are to preserve our planet for future generations to come.

(Attention Art Educators: download our Human Impact category brochure and poster to share with students).

Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021

Our late founder, wildlife artist and conservationist, David Shepherd, used his artworks to raise vital funds and awareness for endangered species across Africa and Asia and to give back to the wildlife to whom he felt he owed his success.

The team at David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF), are continuing David’s legacy by mobilising wildlife artists under the Foundation’s ‘Art of Survival’ programme, which includes  Wildlife Artist of the Year, to raise vital funds for wildlife.

Since the competition was launched in 2008, Wildlife Artist the Year has attracted over 12,000 entries and has raised more than £1.2 million from art sales which help to fund DSWF’s crucial conservation work helping to turn the tide on extinction.

Wildlife Artist of the Year aims to raise awareness for biodiversity through its seven diverse categories: Animal Behaviour, Earth’s Wild Beauty, Facing Extinction,, Into the Blue, Urban Wildlife, Wings and Human Impact . This international art competition is open to both amateur and professional artists over the age of 17 with the Human Impact category open to ages 16 to 22.

The overall winner of the competition will receive the title of Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021 and a £10,000 prize package, comprising of a £5,000 cash prize and £5,000 conservation voucher to be donated to a DSWF conservation initiative of their choice. There are also fully sponsored prizes for the runner up and each category winner.  

The Human Impact category is sponsored in memory of Ingrid Beazley

The late Ingrid Beazley FRSA was an art museum curator, author, editor, and educationist, based in Dulwich, and a pioneer for the street art movement.

“Ingrid helped paint a better picture for humanity, and this award only adds to her legacy for having supported young artists,”

says DSWF Partner Artist and Human Impact category judge, Martin Aveling.

This year we are delighted to announce the Ingrid Beazley Award for the Human Impact category.

The Human Impact category aims to raise awareness for conservation and environmental issues using the growing concept of ‘Artivism’. Artivism in wildlife art brings to life some of the challenges faced by species or the ecosystem in visual and emotive fashion.

“The narrative for wildlife has never been so bleak, and it is time that art reflected that,”

says Martin Aveling.

Applying the concept of Artivism this pioneering category gives young artists a platform to make a powerful statement to express how humans are impacting our planet.

This category is open to young artists between the ages of 16 and 22 from around the world, welcoming a variety of techniques, mediums and styles.

The Ingrid Beazley Award is generously sponsored in her memory, and comprises of:

  • A £500 cash prize
  • A £2,000 donation to a DSWF conservation initiative of the Human Impact winner’s choice. 
  • A £1,500 donation to The Resilience Project, aimed at reducing eco-anxiety among the creative community.  
  • A £1,000 to be used for art supplies for an under-resourced school or community art group of the Human Impact winner’s choice.  

Why Enter the Human Impact category?

  • The £15 entry fee goes to help endangered wildlife across Africa and Asia.
  • This is an opportunity for artists to start a serious conversation about an environmental issue that they feel strongly about.
  • Shortlisted artworks will feature in the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021 exhibition which is viewed internationally.
  • This is a chance for young artists to build their art portfolio and bolster artistic credibility.

The Human Impact category judges are Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at the University for the Creative Arts, Amanda Couch; DSWF Art Patron, Emily Lamb; DSWF Partner Artist and Artivism activist, Martin Aveling and Wildlife Artist of the Year 2019 winner, Stephen Rew.

Previous winners of the Human Impact category

In 2020, Scarlett Henderson from Bath won the Human Impact category for her pencil artwork ‘There’s No Smoke Without Fire.’

‘Shark Fins’ by Sofiya Shukhova took home the prize for this thought-provoking category in 2019.

Entries for Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021 close on Monday 15 February 2021.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at way@davidshepherd.org for further information about this international art competition. To receive updates on Wildlife Artist of the Year and our vital conservation work, please sign up here.

Children younger than 16 are invited to patriciate in Global Canvas, our international group art competition.

For Art Educators

The team at DSWF would like to encourage art educators to please share the Human Impact category with the students in their classroom either by email or pinning this poster to the school notice board. It is excellent exposure for your school should a student be shortlisted for the exhibition.

Shareable posters are brochures for art educators can be found HERE.

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