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Woon Art Prize winner launches solo exhibition

26th November 2021

The winner of a prestigious art prize has launched an exhibition at Northumbria University.

Chika Annen, from the UCL Slade School of Fine Art, was awarded the Woon Foundation Art and Sculpture Prize in 2019 for her unique installation, entitled Fluffy.

The prize includes a £20,000 year-long fellowship, studio space at Northumbria and a final exhibition, as well as mentoring by staff from Northumbria University and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, which jointly host the prize.

The Woon Prize was established in 2012 by Northumbria University alumnus Wee Teng Woon who, along with his three brothers set up the Woon Brothers Foundation, which funds the prize each year.

Caption: Chika Annen won the Woon Prize in 2019. Her exhibition, Meta-Playground, contains painting and sculpture.Visitors to the exhibition can expect to see playful visual and physical representations of “humanity” and “animality” based on Japanese and English interpretations, through the medium of painting and sculpture.

Jean Brown, Director of the University Gallery, said: “We are delighted to be hosting Chika’s solo show that has resulted from her work here at Northumbria University in the Woon Tai Jee studio.

“Chika is an exceptional artist who has produced an exciting exhibition of work in which she has drawn upon the increased engagement with technology that many have experienced during the Covid pandemic. Through this vast ocean of overflowing information she has identified a unique association between different images and subjects.”

Caption: Visitors to the Meta-Playground exhibition can expect to see playful visual and physical representations of “humanity” and “animality” based on Japanese and English interpretations.Chika, who is now studying a Masters in Fine Art at Slade, said: “As an international student, winning the Woon Prize has given me fantastic opportunities to work with new people and have my work seen in different parts of this country.

“The exhibition reflects the contemporary identification of ‘animality’ surrounding our ordinary world. The playful visual and physical representations based on Japanese and English languages draw meta-linguistic materiality.

“The phrase ‘wani ouroboros’ comes from the Japanese classic dialect word ‘wani’ which means both alligators and sharks. The blending images of both the ferocious and mystical animals resonate with our universal projections of the idea of ‘beast’.”

The exhibition, Meta-Playground, is available to view at Northumbria University’s Gallery North, in the Sandyford Building, Newcastle, until Saturday 18 December. Gallery opening times are 12.30pm-4.30pm Tuesday to Friday and 10am-2pm on Saturdays.

The 2022 Woon Prize is open to all final year undergraduate Fine Art students, and – in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19 – to all candidates who graduated from an undergraduate Fine Art programme in 2020 and 2021.

Find out more about the Woon Foundation Art and Sculpture Prize here.

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