Holt Festival Art Prizes
Professor John Last and Anwen Hurt with BlueMoon by Margie Britz, photo by Rodney Smith Official Holt Festival Photographer.

A South African artist, now based in North Norfolk has been announced as this year’s winner of Holt Festival’s Sir John Hurt Art Prize and the accompanying cheque for £1,750.

Margie Britz was awarded the top prize by the judges who had to select from almost 250 entries from around the country. After lengthy deliberations her picture Blue Moon, gouache and graphite on paper, torn and collaged was unanimously chosen by the three member judging panel.

Announcing the winner, judging panel member Professor John Last, Vice Chancellor of Norwich University of the Arts praised the exceptional high quality of the entries, which made their decision as difficult as ever. ‘The quality of the submissions is always very high’ he said ‘This year we ended up with a lengthy discussion around three works so as well as the winner we would also like to mention Keron Beattie’s photograph No Shelter and HJ Jackson’s linocut Quayside Relic.’

Margie Britz was born in South Africa and studied fine art under Brian Bradshaw at Rhodes University, South Africa, from 1967 to 1970. She taught fine art at the Port Elizabeth Technikon (now Nelson Mandela University) before returning to Rhodes University to teach painting and drawing and theory of art. She moved to North Norfolk in the early 80’s, first to Salthouse then to Melton Constable and works as a professional artist. Britz has exhibited internationally and has work in major international collections both corporate and private. 

As well as the cash, the prize includes her winning entry being exhibited at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts later in the year.

Holt Festival Art Prizes
Oliver Ross with Professor John Last. Photo by Rodney Smith Official Holt Festival Photographer.

This year also saw the award of the inaugural Sworders Art Prize for artists aged between 16 and 23. This was won by 21 year old Oliver Ross’ oil paint & collage piece Exhibition. Oliver, from Walsingham, has just finished his degree course at Leeds Arts University and counts British artist Gary Hulm and pop art icon Roy Lichtenstein as key inspirations. He said he was ‘Surprised and thrilled’ at winning the prize. ‘I really didn’t expect this’ he added ‘the field is so strong it feels a great honour’. Oliver’s prize is a cheque for £750 and a commission free exhibition at The Gallery in Lees Yard, Holt.

Holt Festival Fine Art Director James Glennie who organises the Prize commented ‘I am delighted that we had so many fabulous entries again this year. The standard really does go from strength to strength and our distinguished judges had not one but two very difficult decisions to make. The addition of The Sworders Prize makes it all the more interesting , to see such fine work from young people ’.

The winners and all shortlisted works can be seen in a free exhibition at The Auden Theatre, Cromer Rd, Holt, Norfolk, NR25 6EA until Sunday.

The Holt Festival continues until 27 July, full details and information at www.holtfestival.org 

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