Spectrum Art Award 2020: finalists announced


We are delighted to announce the finalists for 2nd Spectrum Art Award, the critically acclaimed national award created to celebrate the outstanding work of artists on the autistic spectrum. The finalists are:

Elise Broadway, Harry Moorcroft, Janice Hughes, Joseph Coyle and Shariff Persaud. After receiving practical, curatorial and personal support an exhibition of their work will take place next year (date and venue TBA) and each finalist will receive an award of £5,000.

The finalists were chosen from open-submission by an expert panel including curator, Sacha Craddock, Spectrum CEO, Mary Simpson, Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, artists, Paul Noble and Chantal Joffe and previous Spectrum finalist, Dawne McGeachy. The judges were impressed by the sheer quality of work presented by the finalists which included a fantastic range of approach by all five; spanning print, painting, sculpture, performance and moving image, including animation.

Mary and Sacha have visited all the finalists in order to gain a greater insight to the work and creative process of each artist, as well as the practical and curatorial support Spectrum might provide in order to help them realise their ambitions as artists.

Mary Simpson, CEO of Spectrum said: ‘We were delighted by the sustained quality of the more than 100 submissions we received this year and whilst it was a difficult task to whittle these down, we were unanimous with our chosen five. The Award is an opportunity to exhibit work by these remarkable artists as well as to articulate some of the primary conditions associated with the condition - the finalists exemplify the artistic excellence and creativity for which this award was created, and we are delighted to bring them to public attention”

Curator, Sacha Craddock said; 'The five finalists have presented us with a fantastic range of work.  From anecdotal to abstract, obsessive to other worldly; the Spectrum Art Award is starting to inhabit an essential artistic place.'

The Spectrum Art Award holds a unique position as a platform for excellent art by artists who are unapologetic about their place in the world and who provide a unique and distinct visual language.

About the finalists: 

Elise Broadway (1993) London. Graduated 2019, Royal College of Art.

Elise creates free-standing and wall-mounted sculptural works using stuffed and drawn or painted fabrics, often using stock images of people and animals found on the internet. The result is a startling mixture of the sophisticated and ungainly, with the apparently mundane transformed into something special and memorable.

Joseph Coyle (1992) Wellington, Shropshire. Postgraduate, Aberystwyth University.

Joseph creates detailed, small scale paintings inspired by nature and British folklore, most notably demonstrated in his series based on the story of Cock Robin. His work explores mythmaking and storytelling with a relationship for detail that is now extraordinary expanded into performance.

Janice Hughes (1994)   Belfast. Graduated 2017, Glasgow School of Art.

Janice works in a variety of medium including painting, collage and film inspired in part by her understanding of nature, her films incorporate animation, often with single frame footage taken from family videos, ‘collaged’ with seed heads, leaves and dried flowers.

Harry Moorcroft (1999) Taunton, Somerset. Studied, Bridgwater & Taunton College.

Harry makes films and animations which demonstrate a sophisticated eye for characterisation, coupled with deadpan humour. Frequently self-narrated, his subject matter is often drawn from personal experience, including bringing vividly to life the difficulties he experienced as an autistic child coping with school.

Sharif Persaud (1994) Hastings. Currently attends Project Art Works.

Sharif makes films, drawings, paintings and mono-prints which explore his unique way of navigating the world, including his frequent use of a cardboard Al Murray mask in public and a very developed interest in bodily functions. His work is by turns funny, arresting and fresh and a wonderful demonstration of how art can unlock communication and provide a voice.

There has never been a more important or appropriate time for a prize like the Spectrum Art Award. The award has already given a national platform and critical support to many remarkable artists, including the inaugural prize winner, Charlotte Amelia Poe. Charlotte has gone on this year to publish her first book, ‘How to Be Autistic’ with the support of Spectrum.  For Charlotte, the experience of winning the has been transformative, in that it has allowed her to challenge directly preconceptions and prejudices of what it is to be autistic.

Charlotte commented, ‘If I can change just one person’s perceptions, if I can help one person with autism feel like they’re less alone, then this will all be worth it. So please, turn the page. Our worlds are about to collide.’