On June 21, Clara Drummond was selected out of 2,557 entries to win the 2016 edition of the BP Portrait Award. A five-time finalist, she will receive over $44,000 as well as a commission by London’s National Portrait Gallery valued at more than $7,300.
Born in Edinburgh, Drummond was educated at Prince’s Drawing School. Her winning work, Girl in a Liberty Dress, 2016, is a portrait of her friend, artist Kirsty Buchanan, whom Drummond called an inspiration. “‘She is always immersed in the ideas around whatever she is making at the time—history, nature, mythology, and art all feed into her work—so when I am drawing or painting her it feels more like a collaboration than a portrait sitting.’”
The second place prize was awarded to Bo Wang for his depiction of his grandmother in a hospital bed in the terminal stages of cancer, titled Silence, 2015. Benjamin Sullivan was recognized as the third place winner for his portrait of the poet Hugo Williams, Hugo, 2016. Jamie Coreth received the Young Artist Award, which honors artists between the ages of eighteen and thirty, for Dad Sculpting Me, 2016, a portrait of the artist’s father in his studio. The paintings will be displayed in this year’s BP Portrait Prize exhibition, a free show that will run from June 23 until September 4.
The jury was chaired by Nicholas Cullinan, director of National Portrait Gallery. Other members include Christopher Baker, director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery; lan Hollinghurst, writer; Sarah Howgate, contemporary curator at the National Portrait Gallery; Jenny Saville, artist; and Des Violaris, director of UK Arts & Culture at BP.
This is BP’s twenty-seventh year sponsoring the award. The oil giant and the National Gallery have a nearly 15 million, five-year sponsorship agreement, which has drawn the attention and scorn of numerous environmental groups. BP has a similar arrangement with other UK institutions such as Tate Britain, the Royal Opera House, and the British Museum. However, Tate decided not to renew the controversial partnership. The National Gallery has not yet announced whether it will continue its relationship with BP when the agreement expires in 2017.