DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year 2023 Categories

Wildlife Artist of the Year is an internationally renowned wildlife art competition. Launched in 2008 by David Shepherd MBE, it has raised more than £1.7 million in sales and entries for DSWF’s ground-based conservation partners in Africa and Asia since its inception. There are eight Wildlife Artist of the Year categories to choose from, suitable for both aspiring amateur and professional artists. We are delighted to introduce two brand new categories for this year’s competition, Abstract World and Environmental Artivism, aimed at widening the competition to new artists and expanding the reach of Wildlife Artist of the Year.

Abstract World

New for 2023

Artwork by Davina Bosanquet ‘Pounce’

This category is about interpretation, freedom and expression. Since the early 1900’s, abstract art has provided a central stream of modern art and is an essential pillar of the art world.

New for our 2023 competition, DSWF is inviting those who choose to express themselves non-figuratively to showcase their talents for wildlife. With the natural world crumbling around us, the creative process is an essential tool used in capturing the beauty and fragility of global biodiversity. The dynamism and intrigue of abstract creation opens a door for pure and raw displays of feeling and freedom, allowing an entirely new audience to be a part of the competition. 

Animal Behaviour

2022 Winner: Emma Swift, ‘Striding On’

Artwork by Emma Swift ‘Striding On’

Animals, like humans, have complex personalities and behaviours and show a wide range of emotion, intellect and sentience. Whether showing incredible skill in seeking food, demonstrating protective instincts for their young, engaging in a unique mating performance or simply relaxing in the sun, every creature will display individuality and character.

The Animal Behaviour category welcomes artworks that exhibit a true understanding of animal behaviour, in an urban or natural setting, capturing moments that might be humorous, tragic, aggressive, interactive or simply a part of a daily routine.

Earth’s Wild Beauty

2022 Winner: Nicholas Jones, ‘Dawn Light, Cape Mercy, Baffin Island 2019’

Artwork by Nicholas Jones ‘Dawn Light, Cape Mercy, Baffin Island 2019’

Our planet is an inspiring tapestry of contrasting habitats and landscapes, providing homes to a host of different animals, plants, trees and insects. Humans share this planet with a huge variety of species and everyday moments of beauty occur as the land and wildlife that lives within it adapts to survive the extremes of nature.

The Earth’s Wild Beauty category Is a celebration of Earth’s wild landscapes, seascapes and all that live in them.

Environmental Artivism

New for 2023

Artwork by Alicia Hayden ‘High Lux’

New to Wildlife Artist of the Year in 2023, this category allows artists to use their platform to feel empowered and to share their thoughts on the issues facing wildlife and the wild in this Anthropocene.

This category invites honest discussion and truth to shed light, un-pack and determine some of the more pressing environmental topics of our time. It can also be a celebration of how art can be used as a positive tool for effective and emotive communication. We invite the thinkers, the feelers, and the activists to share their personal insights on what is happening to our natural world and our affect upon it, both good and bad.

Facing Extinction

2022 Winner: Joni-Leigh Doran, ‘Anyone Out There?’

Artwork by Joni-Leigh Doran ‘Anyone Out There?’

Today the world is facing its next mass extinction with hundreds of species across the planet vanishing from the face of the earth before our very eyes. Whether driven by habitat destruction, wildlife crime, human-wildlife conflict, pollution, climate change or disease, the growing challenges facing many of these incredible creatures could mean that if we don’t end extinction, our last chance to see them will be on canvas or immortalised in sculpture.

The Facing Extinction category invites artists to celebrate these vulnerable species, capturing their behaviour and importance in striking imagery. They may be gone tomorrow if we do not act today.

Into The Blue

2022 Winner: Jacqueline Bright, ‘A Cast of Crabs’

Artwork by Jacqueline Bright ‘A Cast of Crabs’

Covering 75% of our planet and essential to all life on earth, fresh water and salt water are home to some of the most unusual, diverse, mysterious and incredible creatures. Due to pollution, particularly plastic, our oceans are struggling to support life. 

The Into the Blue category features artworks that illustrate the wonderful world of water – be it ocean, seashore, wetland, river or stream – and the incredible animals and landscapes within it.


2022 Winner: Matthew Polluk, ‘Black Skimmer’

Artwork by Matthew Polluk ‘Black Skimmer’

The wonderful world of winged creatures is diverse, complex and fascinating. Birds, bees, butterflies and bats all experience the planet from a different perspective, soaring above our oceans, crossing vast desert plains and making their homes in unusual locations.

The Wings category showcases the extraordinary variety of winged wildlife on our planet, including birds and insects, in-flight or at rest.

Youth Exclusive (for artists aged 15-19 years)

2022 Winner: Levi Hurst, ‘Not A Gift’

Artwork by Levi Hurst ‘Not A Gift’

This category has been re-imagined for young artists whose work aligns with and reflects the voice of a new generation. Capped at 19 years old, this is a group who will include new emerging art professionals as well as strong amateur talent. Young artists are invited to create something true to the essence of their vision, specifically reflecting the natural world, where the power of art can be shown from either a human impact and awareness perspective, or the simple desire to illustrate something beautiful and raw. We want young people to open their hearts and minds to what it is to be a courageous new youth art ambassador for wildlife. 

Enter DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year 2023 through our Online Entry Form