David Shepherd, Wildlife Artist of the Year and winner of the 2022 BBC Wildlife Magazine People’s Choice Award
After a month of voting by 3,000 people, the winner of the BBC Wildlife Magazine The People’s Choice Award for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s 2022 Wildlife Artist of the Year competition has been revealed!
The public could see and vote for 187 pieces by 151 artists and in the end it was Laura Smith’s superb sculpture ‘Close’ , made from recycled products, which received the most votes. Laura had entered her piece in the Human Impact category, which is aimed at 16-22 year olds.
“I am absolutely delighted to have received the BBC Wildlife Magazines People’s Choice Award,” says Laura. “I pinch myself again!
“This was my first time entering the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundations Wildlife Artist of the Year. As a recent Fine Arts graduate, I was thrilled to hear that my little Kin had made it to the finals, let alone won this prestigious international award! The public support/reaction to my sculpture has been astounding.
“As a young artist starting my career, it has been an incredible experience. Seeing so many exceptionally talented artists from around the world come together to raise funds and awareness to reverse the tide of extinction is truly inspiring. and vitally important. I’m glad I was a small part of it.
“It has been a real pleasure to once again partner with the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation for the Wildlife Artist of the Year competition, and to support not only the incredible variety of wildlife art, but also the crucial conservation work that this competition funds,” says Paul McGuinness, editor of BBC Wildlife Magazine
‘Congratulations to Laura Smith for winning the overall award. His magnificent sculpture beautifully captures the essence of the animal, with recycled materials echoing the circle of life. Well done Laura!
Lura says: “During my research, I was shocked to learn that due to deforestation, hunting and illegal wildlife trade, chimpanzees are endangered in many countries. I am deeply concerned about our disconnection from “other” animals.
Because of this, I knew I wanted to produce something thought-provoking, and I think the sculpture is certainly evocative. Moreover, the materiality and anthropomorphic gestures and expressions of “Kin” obviously resonated with the audience.
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“As for the creative process, I spent a lot of time tearing cardboard into small pieces, soaking it in water, and creating a unique paste not too dissimilar to papier-mâché.
Cardboard is so often a discarded, discarded or recycled material; however, as a sculptural medium, it’s not only easily accessible but extremely versatile – I love the idea of taking an everyday product and turning it into something captivating. I think the way I applied the pulp definitely gives the sculpture a unique character and aesthetic.
“Ultimately, my cardboard chimpanzee is a metaphor for the human tendency towards cruelty and misunderstanding. The fragile, small-scale cardboard embodies the precariousness of animal species; it points a finger at the viewer so that he considers his behavior and attitude towards endangered species.
David Berger The Animal Artist of the Year competition was launched by renowned animal artist and conservationist David Shepherd CBE in 2008.
Using the power of art to celebrate wildlife, support awareness and raise vital funds for species protection is at the heart of the wildlife charity. The competition has raised over £1.2million to support vital conservation work in Africa and Asia.