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Wildlife Artist of the Year 2018 Winners

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Stunning Storks Scoop Top Wildlife Art Prize

Artist Radka Kirby with her striking oil painting of saddle-billed storks has been crowned David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s ‘Wildlife Artist of the Year 2018’. The prestigious award wins the Prague-based artist the top prize of £10,000 for her entry entitled ‘Peaceful Place’.

‘Peaceful Place’ by Radka Kirby

The flock of birds on a colourful sub-Saharan lake was described as ‘a wonderfully sublime piece’ by the judges, who said it was: “A hugely deserved winner and a fitting tribute to this competition – it simply claims the x-factor!”

When she heard the news, Radka – also known as Radu Tesaro-Kirby – said: “I am euphoric, jumping with happiness and so very thankful to all who organised this special event. I’m so sad I couldn’t be there on the night but I’m so honoured the judges chose my piece. Thank you!”

The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s (DSWF) annual Wildlife Artist of the Year competition was founded by the late, great wildlife artist David Shepherd CBE FRSA (1931 – 2017) and is now in its 11th year. Proceeds from the sale of the artworks, on display at the Mall Galleries in London, support the charity’s work to fight wildlife crime, protect endangered species, and engage with local communities across Africa and Asia.

Radka’s winning oil on canvas was chosen from more than 1,300 entries from artists around the globe, which were whittled down to a shortlist of over 160 pieces of wildlife art – from large sculptures, to delicate watercolours, intricate pencil drawings and bold oil paintings.

David Shepherd’s daughter Mel Shepherd and Chair of DSWF’s Trustees, was one of the expert judges who had the difficult job of choosing the overall winner, as well as the runner-up and seven category winners. (full list of winners below).

We were very impressed by all the different textures and techniques this year – there was far more variety than ever before and the exhibition is just stunning. It’s the best year yet!” she said.

The competition attracts artists from around the world, allowing them to showcase their work and allowing them the opportunity to give something back to the wildlife they paint through the sale of their work – 50 per cent of which goes to our projects. This is the first year of the competition without Dad and while it’s sad for us, he would have been so very proud – it’s a wonderful legacy for him.

Full winners list:

Overall winner £10,000:

Peaceful Place – Radka Kirby.

The judges said: This wonderfully sublime piece is a hugely deserved winner and a fitting tribute to this competition. It simply claims the ‘x-factor’!

Radka Kirby was born in Prague in 1979 and has travelled extensively. She lived for six years in Zambia, which has had a great influence on her art. She now lives in Prague, painting portraits, landscapes and African wildlife.

Overall Runner-up £1,000 sponsored by Barlow Robbins:

Malayan Tapir Justin Coburn.
The judges said: A deceptively simple painting, this beguiling image is both classic and modern at one and the same time.

Justin Coburn was born in the North East of England. In his most recent work he has been particularly interested in the representation of animals and how this allows us to not only think about our relationship with nature and how this manifests itself through art – be it symbolic, religious, or ethical – but also, how we perceive ourselves and our own uncertain being in the world. He lives in Durham city with his wife and daughter and works full time as a painter.

Category winners £500 each:

Earth’s Wild Beauty – a new category open to art illustrating wild landscapes, seascapes and the people who live in these environments or work to protect them.

Category Winner: Winter Fox – Chris Rose.

The judges said: Extraordinary detail and textures along with the subtle contrasting darks and lights help create a stunning, life-like piece of work.

Animal Behaviour – a real understanding of animal behaviour and a sense of character. Sponsored by Gary Hodges.

Category Winner: This Way Son – Alan Hunt

The judges said: Extraordinarily atmospheric – you can feel the movement of the water – brilliant.

Into the Blue – illustrating the wonderful world of water, be it ocean, seashore, wetland, river or stream. The Derek Frances Award.

Category Winner: Zebra Shark – Umberto.

The judges said: It may be bronze, but what we see and feel here is the silent movement and stealth of a beautiful creature and flowing form – it is alive.

Urban Wildlife – entries in an urban style or depicting the city life of animals and plants. Judges were looking for both originality in the habitat as well as the contrast between wild and urban life. Sponsored by Barlow Robbins.

Category Winner: 40 Flies – Felipe Chavez.

The judges said: Full of characteristic movement, portrayed in a pure and simple form.

Vanishing Fast – showing our vanishing world – it can be any species officially listed as endangered or threatened on the IUCN Red List – or any a landscape that is at risk. Sponsored by Martin & Emma Leuws.

Category WinnerOn the Inside Looking Out – Carrie Cook.

The judges said: A deliciously moody painting full of fire and brooding masculinity.

Wings –the extraordinary variety of winged wildlife – birds and insects, in flight or at rest. Sponsored by Barlow Robbins
Category WinnerIn The Colony – Paul Bartlett.

The judges said: Strong in pattern, shape, colour and tone, the tactile nature of collage gives this painting the winning touch.

The Artist Magazine Award – selected by the editor of The Artist Magazine, Dr Sally Bulgin (feature article for the successful artist in The Artist magazine).

Category Winner:  This Way Son – Alan Hunt. (Chosen independently of the main judging panel.)

Dr Sally Bulgin said she chose Alan Hunt as her winner, not just because of the extraordinary detail in this work, but for the high standard of all of Alan’s entries in the competition.

Highly Commended:

Manta 1,2,3 & 4 – Bill Prickett.

Free Again (Prezewalski’s horses return to Mongolia) – Paul Bartlett.

Learning to be King – Nick Oneill.

I’m Next – Nick Day.

Mythical Tail – Tom Shepherd.

Looking Ahead – Anisha Heble.

Waterplay – Gunnar Tryggmo.

Hammerhead Sharks II – Nicolas Pain.

Crows – Jon Reeves.

Looping the Loop – Janis Goodman.

Black Rhino Profile – Martin Buffery.

Damascus Oryx – Stephen Rew.

We Shall Not Return – Derek Robertson.

Leggit! – Martin Buffery.

Honey Badger – Beverley Drury.

Bottles Shimmer like Fish in a Blue Tide of Plastic Waste – Christopher Hindley.

To see the winning artworks and the full 2018 finalist artworks in their true depth, colour and detail, visit the exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London SW1 running 2-6 May.

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The winners were announced at a special awards evening and private viewing attended by hundreds of art lovers at the Mall Galleries, where the artworks will be on display until Sunday May 6th. The prizes were presented by conservationist John Rendall – famous for his involvement in the rehabilitation of “Christian the Lion”.

An exhibition like this is important because it gives people the chance to look and appreciate the beauty of nature. Not everyone can afford to go on safari, but the quality of the work here is almost like being on safari – it’s a very impressive exhibition!” said John.

Since it began, DSWF’s Wildlife Artist of the Year competition has attracted more than 10,000 entries and raised more than £1.2m to fund the Foundation’s work and it continues to be an important date in the art world calendar.

This amazing exhibition shines a light on some of the world’s most threatened species through the medium of extraordinary art and we are truly grateful to all the artists, judges and sponsors who make this unique event possible,” said DSWF’s CEO Karen Botha.

David is in all our minds as we celebrate his incredible legacy and the powerful contribution that his beloved art continues to make to wildlife conservation. The foundation is proud to continue its work in David’s name, raising funds to save endangered species, fighting wildlife crime and delivering community outreach and educational programmes in Africa and Asia.”

In his words:

Commenting on the event, wildlife artist and conservationist, the late David Shepherd CBE FRSA 1931-2017 said: “I set up my Foundation with the sole purpose of giving something back to the animals that helped me achieve success as an artist. At a time when the world’s wildlife is under such devastating pressure from expanding human populations and the illegal trade it seems fitting that we take a step back and reflect on the sheer beauty and diversity of our natural world and what could be lost if we do not truly appreciate the value of the world around us.

To see the winning artworks and the full 2018 finalist artworks in their true depth, colour and detail, visit the exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London SW1 running 2-6 May.

The competition forms the heart of the charity’s week of wildlife art at the Mall Galleries and is complemented each year with original works from supporting artists. In 2018 this includes an exhibition of striking wildlife photography by bespoke conservation travel company Traveljar. Roaming Elephant (aka Matthew Shapira) is also displaying a range of his colourful elephant artworks.

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