Amy Edwards a multi-disciplinary artist from Swansea has won the Wales International Young Artist Award 2014.
Her winning work What a Wonderful World was described by one of the judges as an image which ‘both seduces and unnerves’.
Amy was presented with her award by director of British Council Wales, Jenny Scott, at a presentation ceremony at Park House in Cardiff on 17 December.
Amy is a graduate of University Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), having completed her foundation diploma in art and design and the BA (Hons) Fine Art (Combined Media) at the university.
Her award success follows that of photographer Andrew Morris, last year’s winner, who was also a graduate of UWTSD – having studied his BA (Hons) Art in Photography at the university.
The judges for the award were leading art experts: Karen MacKinnon, director of Artes Mundi; Welsh artist Marc Rees and Hannah Firth, the director of visual art at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff.
Entries to this year’s award, which is organised by British Council Wales, had to reflect, interpret or be inspired by the work of Dylan Thomas. Amy’s work reflected the words of Dylan’s poem And Death Shall Have No Dominion.
Describing the intriguing development of What a Wonderful World, Amy, who works with ‘disturbing’ subjects in found texts, video and images from the Internet said: “I took a photograph of an image sourced from the internet of a man hanging from a bridge in Mexico. This was appropriated from an extremely graphic and recreational website. Whilst stumbling upon the original image, I was not shocked, sickened or sad, but very intrigued. It made me think about the deceased human, which can now be viewed by anyone at a click of a button. However, in this piece, I had specifically chosen to censor it because of course, it is far too upsetting to show the original image in real life.”
Marc Rees said: “The image both seduces and unnerves, and with the clever juxtaposition of one of Dylan Thomas's most famous poems And Death Shall Have No Dominion it brings the subject and its content into sharp focus. We were impressed by its power and how it places Thomas’s words into a contemporary political context. A deserved winner and I’m sure Amy will embrace the new and exciting opportunities that will emerge from this accolade.”
Jenny Scott said: “British Council Wales aims to take Welsh culture to the world and to encourage young people to gain international experience to help them develop personally and professionally. We know that Wales has a thriving arts scene and we want to see more Welsh creative talent on the international stage. We will be working with Amy to help her develop an international perspective for her work.”
Amy wins £500 and she will gain international experience with an insider’s trip to the Venice Biennale, where she will work with British Council Wales’s head of art.
The Wales International Young Artist Award is open to artists aged between 17 and 25 who were born in Wales or are residents of the country.