Painting – BA (Hons) graduate Benjamin Sullivan takes first prize at the BP Portrait Awards 2017 with an intimate portrait of his wife nursing their baby daughter.

Benjamin Sullivan gained his degree in painting from Edinburgh College of Art in 2000 following a foundation year in his hometown of Grimsby. Since graduation, Benjamin’s work has been widely exhibited across the UK and, prior to gaining first prize this year, had been short-listed thirteen times for the BP Portrait Award, achieving third prize in 2016 with his portrait Hugo, depicting the poet Hugo Williams.

'Hugo' copyright Benjamin Sullivan
Image copyright Benjamin Sullivan
'Hugo' took third place in the 2016 BP Portrait Award

Benjamin had been selected thirteen times for the BP Portrait Awards before winning first place in this year's competition. Hugo, a portrait of poet Hugo Williams won Sullivan third prize in 2016.

Benjamin’s winning painting Breech! shows his wife nursing their eight-month-old daughter Edie and was painted in over five weeks in his Suffolk studio during a time when he says “Edie’s cooperation was forthcoming” and reflected a period when “a sense of calm descended after the usual period of disarrangement that new parents face.”

Now in its thirty-eighth year at the National Portrait Gallery, this year’s competition received 2,580 entries by artists from 87 countries across the globe.

Alongside the £30,000 prize money, Sullivan will also receive a gallery commission worth £5,000 at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

You can visit the BP Portrait Award exhibition featuring Breech! at the National Portrait Gallery, London from 22 June – 24 September 2017, Admission Free


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