Betty Leung crowned winner of The Graduate Art Prize 2019

A cutting-edge artificial intelligence-generated artwork exploring the themes of culture and identity has scooped the 2019 Graduate Art Prize, following this year’s search to find the nation’s most exciting graduate  artists.

Interpreter IV by Betty Leung, an MA Fine Art graduate of Camberwell College of Art, received the most public votes ahead of twenty-one other shortlisted nominations for this year’s prize, founded by art consultancy  ARTIQ.

Leung was named this year’s winner at a private viewing event, hosted at The Graduate Art Prize sponsor Herbert Smith Freehills’ London HQ, which saw all 22 shortlisted entries exhibited. Over 150 attendees, including corporate collectors, art patrons, journalists and buyers, were in attendance.

‘Interpreter IV’ Betty Leung

A twisting, contorted representation of Leung’s identity, Interpreter IV comprises of images generated using a style-transfer AI powered tool printed onto fabric; the AI tool works by taking two existing images and combines them to generate the third new printed image.

Through the piece, Leung – a Chinese-born émigré who emigrated to first Australia and then Britain – seeks to highlight the interconnected themes of human behaviour, personality traits, culture and the story of the self.

(L-R) ARTIQ CEO, Patrick McCrae, GAP19 Winner, Betty Leung, HSF Partner, John Corrie

Alice Kelly, a BA Textile Design graduate of Chelsea College of Arts, secured the runner up place with The Dorothy Rug – a luminous, textured yarn rug inspired by her grandmother and constructed with a tufting gun.

As the winner, Leung has signed with ARTIQ and received a £2,000 cash prize courtesy of sponsor Herbert Smith Freehills, a £500 art materials voucher courtesy of art materials supplier GreatArt and 10 hours of mentorship from ARTIQ experts. By signing with ARTIQ, Leung’s work will be represented to ARTIQ’s client-base of international corporates, hotels and residential projects. As runner up, Kelly has been awarded a £500 art materials voucher as well as the opportunity to also sign with the consultancy.

Guests enjoying artwork. Photography by Tess Mickleburgh

Established in 2013, The Graduate Art Prize – which is designed to offer much-needed support for artists at the beginning of their careers – is open to all final year students on BA and MA degree courses at British art colleges or universities. The twenty-six shortlisted pieces were considered by a panel of judges from ARTIQ and sponsor Herbert Smith Freehills.

Betty Leung, winner of the 2019 Graduate Art Prize, said:

“This was completely unexpected, and I am shocked and delighted to win this year’s graduate art prize. It wasn’t very long ago that I was sitting in an office not too far from here, so I am totally overwhelmed”

Patrick McCrae, founder of ARTIQ, said:

“We are delighted to be co-sponsoring the Graduate Arts Prize again this year. It is really important for us at ARTIQ to contribute to the sustainable arts economy and engaging artists in a business context. It is fantastic to be partnering with Herbert Smith Freehills again and a big congratulations to Betty on her fabulous win.”

John Corrie, partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, said:

“It fills me with great pleasure for us to be able to host the Graduate Art Prize at our offices here at Herbert Smith Freehills. Art in the workplace is very positive for mental wellbeing and the working environment more generally. Clients and colleagues alike have commented on how wonderful the work is. Congratulations to the winner Betty and my thanks to all the participants this year.”

The Graduate Art Prize will return for its eighth year in 2020. Keep those eyes peeled!