Glittering ceremony a celebration of contemporary art

October 31 2018
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THE winners of this year’s Wells Art Contemporary (WAC) international visual arts competition and selling exhibition was announced at a glittering reception held in The Bishop’s Palace.

WAC chair, Paddy O’Hagan, welcomed the visitors to a celebration of the event, which has gone from thoughts around the kitchen table six years ago to an internationally renowned competition that received almost 1,400 entries from 26 different countries in 2018.

“WAC is playing its part in promoting and presenting contemporary art in a way that is easily accessible. There are actually seven venues across Wells that are celebrating visual arts throughout October so I think we’ve been able to show categorically that you don’t need to visit a big metropolitan city to see great art,” he said.

Five prizes were presented, totalling an impressive value of £20,000. Local artists Candace Bahouth, from Pilton, and Toni Davey, from Frome, were among the winners. They were selected for the DAC Beachcroft Space Prize and will be exhibiting in Bristol early next year.

Toni was also selected to take part in a joint exhibition with three other winning artists at the JGM Gallery next to the Royal College of Art in London in 2019.

South Horrington art gallery, Andelli Art, also provided one of the prizes: the Next Generation Art Prize, awarded to an artist under the age of 30 years.

This was presented to South Korean, Minyoung Choi. The prize includes a two-week solo exhibition at the gallery.

The RK Harrison Award of £1,000 was awarded to artist Ian Bruce for his moving hand painted animation called Double Portrait, which portrays the ill-fated relationship between Wells resident Geraldine Peacock and Bob Gannicott.

Ian was also the winner of the Chubb Bulleid People’s Prize, selected by visitors to the exhibition. Visitors were able to cast a vote for their favourite work of art in the exhibition, that took place between October 6 and 21.

Picture: A selection of Wells Art Contemporary prize winners with chair, Paddy O’Hagan, including Judith Jones, Minyoung Choi, Candace Bahouth, Toni Davey and Lara Cobden (Ann Cook Photography)