The Ingrid Beazley Award at Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021
The INGRID BEAZLEY AWARD is a new £5,000 grant designed to support young creatives, tackle eco-anxiety, and fund wildlife conservation. Wildlife artivist, Martin Aveling, shines a light on why it was created:
“Life wasn’t turning out quite as I had planned. Reeling from the loss of a long-term relationship and struggling to make enough to survive in London, stubbornness was all that stood between me and giving up on a dream of making a living from my art. My friend Ed, a talented filmmaker who had been volunteering his craft in a neighbouring borough, took me in hand: “I must introduce you to Mrs. Dulwich”.
Ingrid Beazley was an important presence at Dulwich Picture Gallery and had founded the popular blog, ‘Dulwich OnView’. She had won 9 art awards for her work related to the Gallery, and on paper seemed quite intimidating. This could not have been further from the truth. Ingrid was instantly likable and as charming as she was passionate about the arts. On first meeting, I remember thinking how refreshing it felt to have someone appear genuinely interested in what I did for a living. A meager living, sure, but she never patronised. She offered me a space above their piano to display some of my artwork at her annual ‘Open House’ event. I was one of a couple of new faces that year. Most had shown work with her before, some going back many years. The current crop of Camberwell College graduates were also there, proudly offering their final year projects for scrutiny. It became very clear to me early on that Ingrid’s passion for people was as consuming as her passion for art.
Every year after my first ‘open house’ she offered me that same space above the piano, right up until when she passed away from lung cancer in 2017. She had never smoked in her life. Ingrid was taken from us too soon, but she certainly made every second of her life count. Kind to her core, she poured her own vibrant energy into encouraging the talent and commitment of others. It was her infectious enthusiasm that helped turn East Dulwich into an unlikely hub for street art when she collaborated with the popular artist, Stik. The two became great friends and harnessed their combined creativity and drive to curate “Street Art / Fine Art” – a public exhibition of street art inspired by works from old masters, that Ingrid later brought together into a book.
Ingrid helped paint a better picture for humanity through her support of young artists. Ever since she passed away I have sought a worthy way of honouring her.
The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) ‘Wildlife Artist of the Year’ event is entering its 14th year. From conversations I have had with the foundation in recent years, a new category was announced in 2019 – ‘HUMAN IMPACT’. This category is open to artists between the ages of 16-22 years and calls for artworks that speak to the state of the planet. This year’s winner will become the first recipient of the ‘INGRID BEAZLEY AWARD’.
Ingrid’s reach was wide, which is reflected in the structure and nature of this award:
- £500 cash prize to the winning artist.
- £2,000 donation to a DSWF charity partner of the winner’s choice.
- £1,000 to be used for art supplies at an under-resourced school or community art group nominated by the winner.
- £1,500 donation to ‘The Resilience Project’, NGO aimed at reducing eco-anxiety amongst young environmental activists.
When Sir David Attenborough joined Instagram last year, becoming the fastest account to reach 1 million followers, he said that saving the planet is now a communications challenge. In my view, art that only ever shows animals in a positive light is akin to only posting about the good times on social media. The narrative for wildlife, if we do nothing to change it, is quite bleak and I feel that art should be reflecting that. Wildlife artivism can still bring out beauty, but also draw us into recognising how we are affecting wildlife. That glimpse of reality behind imagery can lead us to pull back from sending wildlife into a death spiral, as we did with the use of plastic after ‘Blue planet 2’.
The Ingrid Beazley that I knew would have encouraged wildlife artivism and would have enjoyed the creativity young artivists are pouring onto their easels. The DSWF ‘Wildlife Artist of the Year’ Human Impact category is pure wildlife artivism.”
The deadline to enter Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021 is Monday 15th February, enter today.