Hastings artist scoops major award

A painting by Hastings-based artist Michelle Roberts scooped first prize at the awards ceremony for charity Outside In’s national open exhibition, Humanity, which presents the work of 80 artists facing significant barriers to the art world (Sotheby’s New Bond Street until January 27).
Michelle Roberts at workMichelle Roberts at work
Michelle Roberts at work

​Michelle’s painting Old Bands is a carefully detailed composition about music and was created using a combination of paint and brush pens. It was selected by this year’s guest judges Bob and Roberta Smith who said: “It’s an absolutely beautiful painting and I really wanted to see more work by this artist.” Michelle works with Project Art Works, a collective of neurodiverse artists and activists based in Hastings who were nominated for last year’s Turner Prize and she will win the prize of a solo exhibition in 2024. The exhibition Humanity will go on to tour the UK this year, showing in Glasgow this summer with Project Ability and at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery in winter 2023. Second prize winner was Ophelia by Gail Henderson and third prize winner was RNLI Saves Refugees by Ian Barnes. More than 500 works were submitted for this year’s national open exhibition by Outside In which supports artists facing significant barriers due to health, disability, social circumstance and isolation and was curated by Cornelia Marland and Charlotte Hanlon from Outside In. Three quarters of the selected works on show are by artists who had never previously exhibited with the charity and the diverse range of artwork ranges from painting and drawing to film, photography, sculpture, ceramics and performance art.

Winning artist Michelle said she was overjoyed to have been awarded first prize. Her mother Jenny Roberts: “Patricia (Finnegan, artist development Lead at Project Art Works) called us and we were in the car on our way to Hastings. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked and I think Michelle was shocked too. It’s nice to have this effect on people because paintings speak volumes and Michelle’s take on things is so different to anyone else’s.” Patricia added: “It was an absolute privilege to accept the award on behalf of Michelle. I have been working with Michelle since 2015 and have seen her work develop in a wonderful way. It’s very exciting to be working with Outside In to plan and celebrate Michelle and her unique interpretations of the things that bring her joy.”

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