School of Art, Media, and Technology

MFA Fine Arts Student Eleana Antonaki Wins the BP Portrait Awards Young Artist Award

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by Eleana Antonaki, 2015
Oil on canvas
1450 x 1450mm

New York based artist Eleana Antonaki, 25, is the winner of the BP Young Artist Award 2015 for a portrait of her friend and emerging artist Julie Laenkhom whose practice is installation-based and deals with the idea of the “object as a living thing.” She was fascinated by the connection Julie develops with her sculptural objects and the almost ritualistic and obsessive way she treats objects of “low value” like plastic bags and balls of clay. In the portrait Julie is shown meditating with her sculptural objects on her working table. Eleana wanted to compose a very austere environment that reveals little about the space in which the sitter exists. She wanted to place her sitter in a precarious position where the narration takes place somewhere outside of the image either before or after the depicted moment.

‘Using painting as my medium,’ Eleana says, ‘I am constantly aware of the history the medium comes with and the dialogue it is generating with its huge tradition. In my portrait, I am referring to the archetypical image of a sitting figure and at the same time to construct an image that exists in a dialogue with the traditional painting space’.

The Judges’ said: ‘We were intrigued by the enigmatic, futuristic narrative of this painting, which was quite unlike any other in the competition.  They felt that this portrait successfully explores the isolation of contemporary life.’


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