A young film-maker has won the coveted Gold Medal for Fine Art – the first time she has submitted work for the National Eisteddfod’s open exhibition.
Filmed in winter on Severn Beach and Portishead, Josephine Sowden’s film – The Lilies Of The Field – addresses the superficial worries and concerns that often dominate people’s minds.
The Somerset-raised, Cardiff-based artist, who is the actor in the film, has won £5,000 after beating off competition from the other exhibitors..
Meanwhile, silversmith Theresa Nguyen has been awarded the Gold Medal for Craft Design and the Young Artist Scholarship has been awarded to film-maker Becca Voelcker
“I am still waiting for the realisation of winning the Gold Medal to sink in,” says University of South Wales graduate Sowden, who follows in the footsteps of previous Gold Medal winners like Elfyn Lewis and Iwan Bala. “It is the most exciting thing to have happened to me. It has made me feel even more proud and committed to continuing my art practice in Wales, which I believe is such a fantastic hub for the arts and offers great support for emerging artists like myself.”
The exhibition selectors – Amanda Farr, Laura Ford and Fennah Podschies – were captivated by the film.
“The Lilies of the Field is a deeply thoughtful piece that demonstrates a unique vision, great sophistication in its approach, and technical proficiency in its execution,” said Farr.
“The film is fascinating to watch and listen to – compelling and instantly memorable. We sat spellbound when we first viewed the piece and our admiration of the work only increased on repeat viewings. The work is beautiful, startling, and disconcerting.
This Way Please by Ammanford blacksmith Angharad Pearce Jones was highly commended by the selectors.
Barmouth-born Nguyen also received £5,000 for winning the Gold Medal for Craft Design.
“It is a real honour for me – I feel so privileged,” said the artist whose family originally came to Wales from Vietnam along with the “Vietnamese Boat People”.
“My family and I will always be grateful to the Welsh people for taking us in and giving us the opportunity to start a new life in Wales.
“Winning this prize has not only reconnected me with my family’s history and journey from Vietnam but also with the land of my birth and the fact that I would not have even had the chance of entering my work into this great competition were it not for the kindness and generosity of the Welsh people in granting refuge to my family.”
Farr said Nguyen’s work “shows mastery”.
Voelcker was awarded the £1,500 Young Artist Scholarship to help launch her career.
“It is a great privilege to be awarded this scholarship,” said the film-maker who is currently studying at King’s College, Cambridge. “