We are thrilled to announce that the winner of the FUAM Graduate Art Prize 2019 is Katie Bennett-Rice, with her work ‘Holdfast’ (2019). 

Now in its seventh year, the FUAM Graduate Art Prize, supported by the Friends of University Art & Music (FUAM), rewards the artistic excellence of students completing BA studies in Art and Design and Fine Art at the University of Leeds in 2019.

Katie, graduate from the School of Design, explores the unconventional beauty of nature. Her work ‘Holdfast’ exposes the complex ecosystems of kelp forests and address environmental degradation in a balancing act paralleling marine growth and loss with the sprawling drawings and unfurling blank paper.

Katie’s artwork has proved to be universally popular, as she has also been named the winner of the People’s Choice Vote. 

Katie said about her experience: 

“It has been brilliant having the opportunity to exhibit in a professional gallery space and especially rewarding to have won! The exhibition really felt like a celebration of the brilliant work made by students here and was a fantastic experience to finish my time studying at the University of Leeds. Looking forward, I am staying in Leeds to focus on creating even bigger and more ambitious work hopefully drawing upon scientific and archival material, and I’m excited to see where the next year takes me.”

The judging panel this year comprised of Professor Claire Honess (Dean of the Leeds Doctoral College), Dr Hilary Diaper (former Keeper of the University of Leeds Art Collection) and Dr Catriona McAra (Curator, Leeds Arts University).

Dr Catriona McAra, said: 

“It was a very strong shortlist of finalists, but Katie’s work stood out and was very memorable for all the judges. It is such a politically topical piece in relation to things like the extinction rebellion movement, as well as being very technically ambitious and labour intensive.”

There’s still time to see Katie’s winning piece ‘Holdfast’ alongside finalists Bella Marr, Eloise Burrows and Alex Oliver. The FUAM Graduate Art Prize 2019 Exhibition is on display until Saturday 16 November. Plan your visit.

Images: Leeds University Library Galleries.