Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022 winners

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022 in association with BBC Wildlife

Our expert judging panel reviewed an incredible 1,650 entries from 900 artists across 56 countries, and each piece was judged anonymously, based on its originality, narrative, and technical skill. 

This world-class competition exemplifies the ‘Art of Survival’ legacy left by our founder the late, great wildlife artist and conservationist, David Shepherd CBE, raising vital funds for conservation and creating awareness for biodiversity. DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year was founded in 2008 and has since raised more than £1.2 million in sales and entries to help support wildlife conservation efforts across Africa and Asia.

At the virtual Awards Ceremony, we revealed the winners for the first time, and we’re delighted to share the full list with you below.

Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022

in association with

Overall winner

Sponsored by Neil & June Covey

Cy Baker “Costa Rican Cloud Forest”

Cy Baker was crowned the overall winner of DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022 for his spectacular biro and oil painting of the Costa Rican Cloud Forest. Melanie Shepherd, DSWF Chairman of the Board of Trustees and judge, commented “it is exquisitely executed and gives a real feeling of the dense forest atmosphere. The black and white detail is extraordinary and draws one into the centre of this magical place”. Cy has won a £10,000 prize which includes a £5,000 cash prize and a £5,000 conservation voucher for a DSWF initiative of his choice.

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“Costa Rican Cloud Forest” in biro and oil by Cy Baker

Overall runner-up

Sponsored by Neil & June Covey

Gordon Pembridge “Dappled Respite”

Gordon Pembridge was named overall runner-up for his exceptional oil painting “Dappled Respite”. DSWF’s Art Patron and judge, Emily Lamb, commented “light, composition, rendering and use of colour all contribute to the feeling of Africa and the heat and dust she is known for. This piece has something both enchanting and subtle in its charm”. As runner-up, Gordon was awarded a £2,000 prize which includes a £1,000 cash prize and a £1,000 conservation voucher for a DSWF initiative of his choice.

Gordon Pembridge - Dappled Respite - 90 x 57 - Oil
“Dappled Respite” in oil by Gordon Pembridge

Animal Behaviour category winner

Sponsored by Gary Hodges

Emma Swift “Striding On”

Large, powerful and visually stunning, Emma Swift’s “Striding On” received a unanimous vote from judges who admired the “strength, sadness and power” emanating from the painting. Emma’s use of colour suggests fire and destruction of the habitat where the last of these magnificent primates survive. Wildlife artist and judge Gary Hodges described it as “a commanding painting of a commanding creature. It is heavy and brooding in mood but uplifting at the same time. It takes you on an otherworldly experience”.

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“Striding On” in oil by Emma Swift

Earth’s Wild Beauty winner

Sponsored by Moore Barlow LLP

Nicholas Jones “Dawn Light, Cape Mercy, Baffin Island 2019”

Nicholas Jones’ floating iceberg claimed top spot in this year’s Earth’s Wild Beauty category. Judges described Nicholas as “an artist who understands the colour palette at the highest level” and commented that the scene was so inviting “it makes you want to dive right in, if not for the bitter cold!” Highlighting the dangerous effects of climate change, they also praised the piece for sending a “simple stark message to the world”.

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“Dawn Light, Cape Mercy, Baffin Island 2019” acrylic on canvas by Nicholas Jones

Facing Extinction winner

Sponsored by Martin & Emma Leuw

Joni-Leigh Doran “Anyone Out There?”

Facing Extinction invites artists to celebrate vulnerable species, capturing their behaviour and importance in striking imagery. As a charity whose mission it is to FightProtect, and Engage on behalf of endangered wildlife around the world, this is a category that is very close to our hearts. Joni was inspired to paint this emotive piece after reading about declining polar bear populations in the Arctic and judges found this stunning oil painting to be “compelling on another level”, describing it as a “deeply emotional piece” that was “exquisitely executed”. 

Anyone Out There
“Anyone Out There?” oil painting on canvas by Joni-Leigh Doran

Human Impact category winner (16-22 year olds)

In memory of Ingrid Beazley

Levi Hurst “Not A Gift”

Levi Hurst’s intention for this piece was to show the true horrors of tiger poaching in the illegal big cat trade. Wildlife artivist, Martin Aveling, applauded the “exquisite detail” in the drawing which “invites us to sit a little longer with an ugly reality”. Taking an abhorrent subject and making the storytelling beautiful, CEO at DSWF, Georgina Lamb, described this artwork as “hauntingly striking in its simplicity” and commented how making the viewer feel deeply uncomfortable as to our human impact is exactly what this category is about.

Not-A-Gift
“Not A Gift” in pencil by Levi Hurst

Into The Blue winner

Sponsored by Paul Traub Associates

Jacqueline Bright “A cast of crabs”

Jacqueline Bright’s icy-blue portrait of the humble crab grabbed the attention of judges with every inch crammed full of subtle colours and swirling movement. They praised Jacqueline for allowing mayhem to fill the space, while maintaining “a clean and beautifully designed composition to present nature in abundance, as it should be”.

Jacqueline Bright - A Cast of Crabs
“A cast of crabs” in pastel by Jacqueline Bright

Urban Wildlife winner

Amy Rogers “Richmond”

Richmond Park was the inspiration behind this charcoal and pencil by Amy Rogers and judges celebrated how it shows that “paradise is on our doorsteps”. DSWF Partner Artist and Wildlife Artist of the Year judge Hazel Soan found this piece to be “very moving”, “exciting”, “endearing” and “compelling”. Bringing about a sense of familiarity, Melanie Shepherd remarked “one can just imagine the chaos as the detritus of urban life will soon shatter the peace that Amy so cleverly captures”.

Amy Rogers - Richmond
“Richmond” in charcoal and pencil by Amy Rogers

Wings winner

Sponsored by Silversurfers

Matthew Polluk “Black Skimmer”

For the second year running, Matthew Polluk has swooped in to claim the prize for the Wings category. Whilst many birds rely predominantly on their visual senses to feed, the subject matter of this piece, the black skimmer, is the only species of bird to forage by sense of touch. Judges observed something “very ancient and ethereal about this piece” and admired how the tones, symmetry and story are brave but not overpowering.

Matthew Polluk - Black Skimmer
“Black Skimmer” in pen, ink and gold leaf by Matthew Polluk

Michelle Lee Howk First Time Entrants Award

Sponsored by Michelle & Jason Howk

Ginger Gehres “Let the Good Times Roll”

Ginger Gehres’ “Let the Good Times Roll” is a celebration of joy and “pure delight”. Claiming the inaugural Michelle Lee Howk ‘First Time Entrants’ Award, Michelle and Jason Howk loved the originality of a zebra relaxing off its hooves. They also applauded Ginger’s “amazing skill” in capturing the movement of the animal and Georgina Lamb described her as a “very worthy winner” of this wonderful new award.

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“Let the Good Times Roll” on scratchboard by Ginger Gehres

Elizabeth Hosking Prize for Watercolour

Sponsored by Elizabeth Hosking

Vikrant Shitole “The Unleashed”

The Elizabeth Hosking ‘Watercolour’ Award was presented to Vikrant Shitole for his vibrant and expressive piece “The Unleashed”. This beautiful study of a leopard was praised by judges, Elizabeth Hosking and Hazel Soan, for being a “very confident” artwork, executed by someone who knows how to use their paint and brush to maximise the luminescence of watercolour “in a free and expressive manner”. They particularly liked the detail of the face painted with a dramatic but not scary snarl.

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“The Unleashed” in watercolour by Vikrant Shitole

The Artist Editor’s Choice Award

Sponsored by The Artist magazine

Annabel Thornton “Lone Bee”

Annabel Thornton’s acrylic painting “Lone Bee” comprises layers of gold and turquoise painted onto canvas board. She chose to depict a solitary bee to emphasise the plight of the animal.

Speaking about the piece, Editor of The Artist magazine, Dr Sally Bulgin, commented “I love the mix of detail describing the hovering bee and loose abstraction of the background. 

“Annabel’s bold and daring use of colour sets the tone and atmosphere of the composition whilst inviting the viewer to engage with the flight, and plight of the bee, drawing attention to its decline as the result of multiple threats including habitat loss, disease and climate change”.

Lone Bee
“Lone Bee” in acrylic by Annabel Thornton

David Shepherd Art of Survival Award

Detlef Tibax “The Fish Eaters”

In homage to David Shepherd and our ‘Art of Survival’ legacy, this special prize is in recognition of a supporting artist who has gone above and beyond the creation of art alone by using their work to celebrate and promote positive change, challenge alternative views and difficult topics. The chosen artist has continued to celebrate and promote our work with incredible enthusiasm, whilst also helping us to raise vital funds for the natural world. 

CEO at DSWF, Georgina Lamb, commented: “Through his Art4Conservation platform Detlef continues to amaze and inspire wildlife artists to do their bit and to positively contribute to the species they capture through their art. His vibrant and lively style captivates buyers from around the world and he has built a loyal following as a result of his talent and personality. Detlef channels the proceeds raised from his art sales back into conservation initiatives. A true wildlife warrior who is one of the most passionate, generous, and dedicated wildlife artists and conservation friends we are proud to know here at DSWF. We are thrilled to celebrate his success and the good he chooses to use his art to achieve”. 

Congratulations to Detlef Tibax who has won a ten-day visit to one of DSWF’s ground based conservation partners to explore our conservation efforts first-hand and witness how art really is helping keep wildlife safe and the wilderness protected!

“The Fish Eaters” by Detlef Tibax

Our DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022 online exhibition includes an incredible 185 pieces from 151 participating artists. All artworks will be available to purchase from the DSWF shop from 1st September to 2nd October 2022 with 50% of the proceeds supporting DSWF’s vital wildlife conservation work across Africa and Asia.