The International Print Biennale, the major survey of printmaking hosted every two years in the North East, opened with the presentation of awards to the winners.
There were entries from across the world in several categories with some winners travelling to Newcastle’s Hatton Gallery for the awards ceremony.
Presenting the awards was Stephen Chambers, artist and Royal Academician.
The winner of the £6,000 Bryan Robertson Trust Award was London-based artist Bob and Roberta Smith – he is just a single entity – for a lithograph showing journalist Suzanne Moore which is part of his Feminist Icons series.
American artist Ellen Heck won the Northern Print Residency Prize and also the V&A Print Prize for Trimita as Frido, one in a series of prints depicting women and girls dressed as the Mexican painter and icon, Frida Kahlo.
The Clifford Chance Purchase Prize was won by Dutch artist Marcelle Hanselaar, now based in London, for her etching White Collar Black Man in Flowerjacket, a response to the colonialist idea that a black man wasn’t a person until he was dressed in a white man’s clothing.
Julie Roch-Cuerrier, from Canada, won the National Glass Centre Residency Prize for a work called The National Geographic Atlas of the World (book), which shows an atlas in a Perspex display case on a metal table. The artist is interested in the idea that we trust maps.
The Northern Print Collaborative Prize went to Trevor Banthorpe, born in Norwich but London-based, for a print in his New York series which illustrates his celebration of the ordinary.
Anna Wilkinson, director of the Biennale and of Newcastle-based Northern Print – today celebrating an Arts Council grant of £147,699 for studio improvements and digital print equipment – said: “We are delighted to see the increasing importance of the International Print Biennale and the Print Awards as a prestigious event for printmaking.
“The winners this year are a reflection of the eloquent and diverse print work being created by artists all over the world and to be able to showcase that work in the UK and specifically across the North East is a privilege.”
Bob and Roberta Smith said it was “amazing” to win a prize for work celebrating feminism, “a deeply humanitarian approach to life”.
The Print Awards exhibition is at the Hatton Gallery until August 8 but there are related print exhibitions across the region at a range of venues. Find details on www.internationalprintbiennale.org.uk