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Winner of BBC Wildlife People’s Choice Award revealed

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

After much anticipation, we’re delighted to reveal that the winner of the BBC Wildlife People’s Choice Award is Laura Smith with her cardboard sculpture of a chimpanzee, ‘Kin’!

This striking piece was entered into the ‘Human Impact’ category of DSWF’s Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022 competition. Open to artists aged 16-22, this category provides young adults with a platform to make a statement with their art on the impact humans are having on the planet and its precious wildlife.

In describing her artwork, Laura explains: 

“There is something evocative in gestures and expressions. Empathy is at its core. The chimp is a metaphor for the human tendency towards cruelty and lack of understanding. The fragile cardboard and scale embody the precariousness of animal species. I am deeply concerned by our disconnection from animal others. It is an invitation and a rebuke.”

Over 3,000 people voted for their favourite artwork from this year’s exhibition, and it’s wonderful to see this prize awarded to an artist who so wonderfully captured DSWF’s ‘Art of Survival’ vision, creating awareness for important conservation issues through art. 

“To have this year’s BBC Wildlife People’s Choice winner selected from the Human Impact youth category is fantastic! Laura has not only created a visually appealing and imaginative piece but also makes a bold and important environmental statement through her art. Laura Smith’s Chimp, ‘Kin’, is a worthy winner and encapsulates how art can be used to tell a story, highlight important messages, and generate conversation and debate. The sensitivity captured in the piece, despite the topical medium, is powerful and engaging.”Georgina Lamb, CEO at DSWF

Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022 attracted 1,654 entrants from 850 artists across 55 countries. 185 artworks of varying mediums and expressions were shortlisted in this year’s Exhibition and the winning and highly commended pieces were announced in the virtual Awards Ceremony on the 31st August. 

As the winner, Laura will feature in an article on DiscoverWildlife.com, providing a terrific opportunity to showcase her work to a large new audience. She will also receive a 12-month print subscription to BBC Wildlife which is packed full of award-winning photography from around the world, insightful features on a broad range of animals and the latest news in scientific discoveries.  

More about Laura’s work

As an artist, Laura Smith is disquieted by the conflicted relationship between humans, animals and nature. As a result of this there is often an unspoken tension within her sculptures. On a superficial level, they are representations of animals; however, on a deeper level, they are metaphorical reflections of our psyche and of life itself. By anthropomorphising her subjects, there is a resonance conscious provoking thought surrounding the environmental issues facing our planet, and re-establishing connections are critical. Ultimately, her works are societal critiques with an undertone of optimism for a better world.

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