Fine Art students win big at the Student Medal Project
Falmouth Fine Art BA (Hons) students have scooped an impressive haul of awards at this year’s Student Medal Project, including the Grand First Prize. The British Art Medal Society, which runs the project, receives over 100 student submissions from universities and art colleges across the country.
Kiki Burtles was awarded the Grand First Prize in the Cast Works category for her design Inherited. Amelia Johnson picked up The Lunce Prize for Of Cavities and Hollows, with Caroline Holland and Julie Davenport both securing Merits for New Beginnings and Motherhood and Threads and Connections respectively. Covid permitting, The Royal Cornwall Museum will be hosting an exhibition of the works in the autumn.
All five judges felt that the strength of the work was phenomenal.
Marcy Leavitt Bourne, Director of the British Art Medal Society, believes that students took their designs to new heights this year despite facing challenging circumstances. “This was a difficult year. That’s clear in the medals that students made and the designs they created,” she says. “But it has been a remarkable year. All five judges felt that the strength of the work was phenomenal.” Grand First Prize winner Kiki echoes Marcy’s statement, saying “this strange situation can amplify our creativity”.
Kiki Birtles, 'Inherited'
Kiki’s design is a reflection on the burden of environmental issues.
“Younger generations have inherited the problems of the world and have been bound to bear this enormous pressure. On the front of my design there is a person in agony trying to hold up the earth while being simultaneously crushed by it. This imagery is inspired by the Greek mythology of Atlas – the Titan who was condemned to hold up the
celestial heavens for eternity after the Titanomachy (War of the Titans). On the flip side, the figure is depicted in a peaceful sleep, curled up around the constellations. However, this only conceals their agony, as they ignore the state of the world instead of addressing the mistakes that have been made.”
Amelia Johnson, 'Of Cavities and Hollows'
Amelia’s medal was designed to address extinction, habit loss and responsibility.
“I have used the image of the now extinct Carolina Parakeet and a tree cavity that this species used to nest within, to present the sorrowful story of their absence and nature's loss. The cavity of the tree captivated
me as it used to provide shelter and host life, yet now it is empty and hollow. I intended for the medal to be tactile and mirror the human touch that stains the memory of this species, as it was human action that led to their extinction in 1918.
Julie Davenport, Motherhood, Threads and Connections
Julie’s design was dedicated to her three children who are about to leave home.
“The shape of the medal is from a perfect skimming stone, tactile and smooth. This is a reminder of casting out your stone into the unknown to skip across the ocean free. The cotton threads criss-crossing the stone is
a metaphor of paths which will cross and be intertwined. On the reverse side of the stone is the motif of two elephants touching head-to-head. Elephants are matriarchal animals; wherever they travel there will always be love and a close family bond.”
Caz Holland, New Beginnings
Caz Holland, who had no previous experience of casting, created a personal talisman that symbolises her journey towards mental health.
“On one side of the medal is He’e, who is an octopus taken from a Hawaiian creation myth. In this myth, He’e is the only survivor at the end of the previous universe, who has squeezed through a gap into the
beginning of our universe. He’e is represented as squeezing through a black hole in the centre of the medal, into a ‘new beginning’. On the other side of the medal is a Celtic symbol for ‘new beginnings.’ This talisman simultaneously represents my struggles and also empowers me to keep moving forward.