The British Ceramics Biennial has announced Nao Matsunaga as the winner of the £10,000 AWARD prize in recognition of his exceptional creativity in contemporary ceramics.
As the only regular survey of leading contemporary ceramic practice, AWARD brings together leading practitioners in the design, practice and manufacture of ceramics. This year’s shortlist of 21 ceramicists was selected from more than 170 applications by a panel of experts.
© Joel Fildes
Nao’s own practice is inspired by Neolithic and modern architecture and its inhabitants, creating work that is recognisable by its raw organic form and texture. His pieces range from installation-based works to clay sculptures, created by coiling and texturing clay.
Jeremy Theophilus, the Co-Director of the Biennial, said Matsunaga was "an artist with a strong body of work behind him" which "challenges the properties of clay and its relationship with the world.”
The award was presented on October 18 at a ceremony celebrating the third British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke, home of the British ceramics industry.
Cardiff Metropolitan University graduate Sarah Worgan was also awarded a bursary for her installation-based work as part of FRESH, BCB’s other reoccuring exhibition.
FRESH seeks to represent works produced by graduates from across the ceramics spectrum, including tableware, industrial design, figurative and abstract sculptures and installations.
The exhibition acts as an important launch pad for many new artists, as well as highlighting the importance of higher education to ceramics in a time when the number of institutions practicing ceramics has dropped to an all-time low.
“Sarah Worgan has created a cohesive series of works that collectively framed a rigorous control of material and colour," said Barney Hare Duke, Theophilus's fellow Co-Director.
"While they mark the completion of a degree, they also make a strong case for onward development with the support and encouragement this prize will.”
- The AWARD exhibition is at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery and FRESH is on display in the original Spode factory site, the main hub of the British Ceramics Biennial. Both exhibitions run until the end of BCB on 10 November. Follow the BCB on Twitter @BCBfestival.
You might also like:
British Ceramics Biennial showcases some of the best of British craft
The Guild at 51: The Arts and Crafts thrive at Cheltenham's new art gallery, The Wilson
Artist's Statement: Richard Notkin on fighting for humanity's future in the studio
Follow Sarah Jackson on Twitter @SazzyJackson.