79 local artists are showcasing their creations at this year’s unmissable 2021 Spring Visual Arts Exhibition, with first prize being awarded to Leslie Gaduzo. 154 pieces were submitted and can be found at the Gustavo Bacarisas Art Gallery; walking through the halls, you can feel life returning to normal after a difficult year.
Artworks by 79 Gibraltarian artists, adopting a wide array of creative styles and techniques, can be found throughout the halls of the Gustavo Bacarisas Gallery in Casemates Square following the finals of the Gibraltar Spring Visual Arts Competition.
The exhibition is showcasing all the works submitted for the contest and is organised by the Gibraltar Cultural Services on behalf of the Ministry of Culture. It was opened to the public on the 24th of May with a very well-attended award ceremony and will be open until June 5th, 2021.
The Spring Visual Arts Competition is a renowned competitive event for artists, and this year a whopping total of 154 pieces were submitted. The atmosphere at the inauguration was fantastic and quite different to that of the previous year thanks to the greatly improved health situation in Gibraltar – you can feel that “normality” is finally making a comeback in the cultural sphere on the Rock.
Minister for Heritage and Culture, John Cortes, presented the awards during the inauguration; an honour which had previously been carried out by renowned Basque artist and director of the “Plastic Art” section of the Instituto de Estudios of the Campo de Gibraltar, Javier Machimbarrena, who has been living and creating art in the area for some time now.
“The best part about this competition is how it enriches local culture and how it encourages local participation, especially among young people involved in the world of art… Not only do they develop a deeper understanding of the arts, but this also enhances their motivation; how they convey messages and touch upon social issues… it’s all fascinating to me”, Machimbarrena told Reach outside the gallery during the inauguration.
The gallery can be visited for free until the 5th of June Monday – Fridan from 10:30 – 18:30 and also on Saturday from 10:30 – 13:30.
A Breath-taking Array of Techniques: Painting, Sculptures, Video and Digital Art
Leslie Gaduzo won first prize for the (the Ministry of Culture Award) and £3,000 with her stunning “In Hong Kong”.
This same painting was also chosen as the winner of the Painting, Drawing, Printing and Digital Painting category, with an added endowment of £750.
The Sculpture award went to Tyrone Anthony Vera for his “Size 6”, while the photography award went to Daniel Ghio for his “The Beauty Within”, and the Video award going to Alan Perez for his “Confinement Boogie” montage – a piece which Javier Machimbarrena specifically pointed out for its “minimalism and elegance”, who said that it was a “very intimate and subtle work with a good synergy between imagery and wonderful music”. Each of these awards were £750.
Two further awards were given presented during the inauguration, worth £1,000 each: The Gibraltar Cultural Services Award for Best Theme was presented to Karl Ullger for his “4 Hospital Steps” and the Sovereign Art Foundation Award in recognition of the best young artist in the competition went to Naomi Duarte for her “Masculinity?”
Further awards, but without cash prizes, went to several other submissions; including two in the photography section, obtained an “honourable mention” / highly commended from the panel of judges: “A Fresh Start” by Zulaika Vallance; “El Habanero” by Timo Canessa and “Retribution” by Rina Devine.
As Javier Machimbarrena told ReachExtra, this year’s Spring Visual Arts Competition saw high participation and there was so much enthusiasm among the young artists and creatives; all made possible thanks to the Gibraltar Ministry of Culture.
He said: “The fact that within such a small community there has been this level of participation, and that these artists are supported in this way, even at amateur level, is undoubtedly commendable and highly worthy of praise”.
A New Dawn: Covid-19 Lingers But Less Prominent
There was no limit when it came to subject matter and materials used for their creations; theme, creative expression and style was left entirely to the artists. So, as you walk through the beautiful halls of the Gustavo Bacarisas Gallery, you can find a little bit of everything: portraits, landscapes, urban scenes depicting daily life, architecture, nature…
Curiously, unlike the previous exhibitions ReachExtra visited last year, themes about Covid-19 have dissipated almost entirely – something which you can also feel as you walk through the streets of Gibraltar.
On this occasion, a few pieced did reflect on the Covid-19 situation, such as a portrait of a child wearing a firefighter’s helmet or a shadowy sculpture of a GHA worker whose hands wrapped in gloves extended to the front, with a mask and goggles covering his face, asks the observer not to approach him, with a sign on his cap which reads “Keep your distance”.
But at the end of the day, as is tangible when you walk through the streets of Gibraltar, the nightmare that is the Covid-19 pandemic feels more distant now, but art is a witness of time, and reflection on it cannot be avoided.