Home News Press Releases Wildlife Artist of the Year 2023 Winners Announced

Wildlife Artist of the Year 2023 Winners Announced

Global wildlife art competition unites worldwide community of artists in saving endangered species from extinction.

11 September 2023, The Mall Galleries, London.

The winners of David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s prestigious Wildlife Artist of the Year were announced live at the Mall Galleries, London, last night. Final judging and the preview night took place on the same day, and the accompanying exhibition will run until September 16 at the Mall Galleries, London.

Ugandan-born conservation artist, Karen Laurence Rowe, was announced as this year’s Wildlife Artist of the Year, with her piece ‘The Journey’ named the overall winner.

An abstract oil painting of green, orange, and black blocks.
The Journey, Karen Laurence Bowe.

The judge’s comments on Rowe’s stunning piece were as follows.

“A painting which not only conveys a vital conservation message about drought and the changing environment but also a dynamic portrayal of a new and exciting abstract style.  The more you get lost in this stunning landscape, the more you can find.”

1,419 entries were received for this year’s competition, with 157 finalists being selected. The other winners, including those of the individual categories were as follows:

Overall runner up went to ‘Amazonic Barcode Jungle’ by Camila Echavarria, a Columbian artist and former engineer. Her deep connection to the vibrant jungles and diverse ecosystems of her native country shone through in her stunning sculpture.

A mixed media sculpture of amazon rainforest trees, in black and yellow, looking like a 3D barcode.
Amazonic Barcode Forest, Camila Echavarria.

Category Winners

A new category for the 2023 competition was ‘Abstract World’, which invited artists who choose to express themselves non-figuratively to use their creative process to capture the beauty and fragility of global biodiversity. Won by Nathalie Daigle and her piece ‘Openness’, her exquisitely soft painting evoked a sense of the landscape of the elephant’s skin merging with the natural world it lives in.

Openness, Nathalie Daigle.

One of the most popular categories for both the public and artists alike, is Animal Behaviour. This year, the top prize went to ‘The Prowl’ by Gale More O’Ferrall.

The Prowl, Gale More O’Ferrall.

Another popular category is Earth’s Wild Beauty, which went to Nickolaas Willems and his piece, ‘Tree No.1’.

Tree No.1, Nickolaas Willems.

Another new category for 2023 was Environmental Artivism – recognising the growing movement among artists who wish to use their platform to share important issues facing wildlife and the environment, and to empower others to do so. Sponsored by British art supply company, Derwent, the £500 prize went to Ophelia Redpath for her piece ‘Not in a Million Years’.

Not in a Million Years, Ophelia Redpath.

The Facing Extinction category was won by Leize Meyer, and her piece ‘The Squabble’, whose simple depiction of a confrontation over a food resource had much larger connotations.

The Squabble, Leize Meyer.

The Into the Blue category is dedicated to the world of water, which covers over 75% of our planet and harbours some of our planet’s most iconic wildlife. This year, Tamara Pokorny’s piece, ‘Shadow of a Ghost’ took the crown.

Shadow of a Ghost, Tamara Pokorny.

The Wings category is dedicated to the different but shared perspective of species able to take to the air – birds, bats, insects et al, and was won by Sarah Lake and her piece, ‘Abou’.

Abou, Sarah Lake.

Special Awards

As well as the category winners, there were several dedicated awards given out on the night.

One of the first and most coveted awards of the night, was ‘The Artist Editor’s Award’ – chosen by Dr Sally Bulgin, editor of The Artist magazine. The winner of the category was Ophelia Redpath’s ‘Not in a Million Years’ and marked a second award for this piece in this year’s competition.

The Elizabeth Hosking Prize for Watercolour went to ‘Evanescence of Frolicking Tigers’ by Anisha Heble. This category is sponsored by long-term friend of The Foundation, Elizabeth Hosking and was judged by both her and eminent watercolourist, Hazel Soan.

Evanescence of Frolicking Tigers, Anisha Heble.

DSWF is always proud to showcase the first-time entrants to the competition with the Michelle Lee Howk award. This year, ‘Essential Worker’ by Katy Rundle stood out to the judges, who admitted their task is only getting harder year on year.

Essential Work, Katy Rundle.

The Youth Exclusive Award went to Rhythm Ghai and their piece, ‘Getting Extinct’. This prize is sponsored in memory of celebrated artist and teacher, Ingrid Beazley, and includes a cash prize of £500, a £2,000 contribution to a DSWF conservation initiative of the winner’s choice, and £1,000 of art supplies provided to an under-resourced school or community, also of the winner’s choice.

Rhythm Ghai - Getting Extinct - 42 x 59 - drawing
Getting Extinct, Rhythm Ghai.

A Powerful Platform

Wildlife Artist of the Year provides a powerful platform for artists from around the world to showcase the concerns and issues impacting global wildlife and iconic species in an evocative, thought-provoking medium which challenges us to pick up the conversation about conservation.

One of the things remarked on most by the participating artists is the sense of community and comradery they feel by taking part. Although ultimately a competition, the goal of saving species unites us all.

All entry income directly supports the essential work of David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation – and this year, an incredible £32,000 had been raised before the exhibition’s doors had even opened. Throughout the exhibition, 50% of all sales will also be dedicated to the vital on-the-ground projects and programmes supported and funded by DSWF.

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Andrew White
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

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