FUAM Graduate Art Prize winner is BA Fine Art alumna Emii Alrai

FUAM Graduate Art Prize winner is BA Fine Art alumna Emii Alrai

The fourth annual Friends of University Art & Music (FUAM) Graduate Art Prize winner is Emii Alrai (BA Fine Art) for her work Marshlands.

Now in its fourth year, the FUAM Graduate Art Prize rewards the artistic excellence of students completing studies in Design and Fine Art at the University of Leeds in 2016.

After visiting the degree shows of the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies and School of Design which took place around campus in June, a panel of three judges from across the city selected four graduating students as finalists for The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery’s increasingly prestigious FUAM Graduate Art Prize Exhibition 2016.

The artists chosen as finalists were: Emii Alrai and India Pearce (School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies); Zoe James and Francesca Ivaldi (School of Design).

The judging panel comprised Bryony Bond, Creative Director at The Tetley; Derek Horton, curator and co-director of &Model, an international contemporary art gallery in Leeds; and Professor Frank Finlay, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Leeds.

The winner of this year’s prize was announced at a ceremony at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery on 28 September. BA Fine Art graduate Emii Alrai received an award of £250 for Marshlands, which was influenced by the draining of the Iraqi Marshlands in the 1950s–90s and its impact on the cultural reflection of modern Iraq.

Marshlands, 2016 © Emii AlraiEmii said of her work and of winning the FUAM Graduate Art Prize:

“Marshlands is a piece which uses theatrical techniques of props and staging to question the confusion felt between both the Eastern and Western worlds. It is inspired by the Mesopotamian Marshlands located in southern Iraq. The Marshlands have now been granted UNESCO world heritage status.

“The nomination and experience of the FUAM show has really been a wonderful opportunity. Getting to work with both the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery and the technical team has been great, and the platform provided by both the gallery and FUAM has been brilliant in developing my work. The School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies has been the backbone to my artistic development, especially from the technical staff.

“Leeds is an amazing place to be continuing a practice due to the many museums and galleries, as well as the multitude of artist-led spaces. It is an exciting and supportive community and I would encourage students to go to as many events as they can!

“I will be continuing my practice alongside training to be a Museum Registrar through a program developed by the School alongside The Royal Armouries and Leeds Museums and Galleries.”

Professor Abigail Harrison Moore, Head of the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, said:

“We are all very proud in the School of Emii’s achievement. Her work is thoughtful, interesting and important. Emi has also been successful in being selected to undertake the prestigious Registrar Internship, funded by Arts Council England. She is another example of the amazing success that our graduates achieve through critical thinking, careful questioning and hard work.

“Congratulations also go to India Pearce for being chosen as one of the four finalists for the FUAM Graduate Art Prize.”

Emii Alrai’s work and that of runners-up India Pearce, Francesca Ivaldi and Zoe James will be displayed at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery until 1 October.