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BP Portrait Prize 2017

Last edited on Thursday, June 29, 2017 - 3:35 PM by Juliet Franks

Ruskin Alumna, Khushna Sulaman-Butt (BFA 2016) is the youngest exhibitor at this year's exhibition.

Khushna Sulaman-Butt (St Edmund Hall) has been successfully included in the National Portrait Gallery’s BP Portrait Award 2017.  At just 21 years old, Khushna is the youngest exhibitor and was successfully selected from 2,580 entries by artists from around the world.

Completed whilst at the Ruskin, Khushna's portrait, Society, will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London until September and will then join the touring exhibition around the UK until June 2018.   More information is available online about the exhibition BP Portrait Award 2017  and the dates of the tour are as follows: 

National Portrait Gallery, London
22 June - 24 September, 2017

Exeter City Art Gallery, Exeter
4 October - 4 December, 2017

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh
11 December, 2017 - 19 March, 2018

Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Sunderland
26 March – 11 June, 2018

As Khushna explains her painting “attempted to convey a sense of sinister isolation. The subjects exchange looks in strained silence, highlighting the unspoken discomfort in their differences.” 

All of the sitters were students at Oxford University yet they were chosen due to their different relationships, some knew each other, whilst others were strangers.  This dynamic enabled Khushna to explore their vulnerability, and as Khushna adds  “tension comes from the make-up of society, the categories and expectations it sets”. The exchange of gazes invites the viewer to explore their perspectives and whilst the group appear closely assembled, there was no physical contact between each person, with one empty chair as an open invitation for the viewer to also participate in the work.

The National Portrait Gallery has also created a Visitor's Choice Award where you are invited to select your favourite portrait in this year's exhibition.  To vote for Khushna's piece, follow this link 

More information about all the selected artists is found here and to visit Khushna's website click here

Congratulations Khushna!