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Artist digs for victory in major Scottish art prize

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Artist digs for victory in major Scottish art prize

A YOUNG artist from Wigtownshire who digs up her own clay to make her sculptures has been announced as the winner of Scotland’s biggest prize for emerging art.

Lorna Phillips, 23, has won the 2023 Glenfiddich Residency Prize, which is worth £15,000.

The prize is awarded annually at the RSA New Contemporaries exhibition in Edinburgh which is regarded as the leading showcase of emerging art and architecture in Scotland.

Lorna, who grew up in Wigtownshire but now lives in the capital, makes clay objects from material she has dug up herself in different parts of the country. Her works were described by the Glenfiddich judges as “a clean and pure celebration of form”.

Her prize is a fully funded three-month residency on the prestigious Glenfiddich Artists in Residence (AiR) programme at the distillery in Dufftown this summer, alongside artists from all over the world. She will receive a £5000 fee and £10,000 production budget.

Andy Fairgrieve, co-ordinator of the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence programme, said: “Despite the stunning array of work to choose from, this year saw a unanimous decision from our judging panel.

“Lorna Phillips’ work is a clean and pure celebration of form. Her combination of materials and craft, exploring a particular area’s social heritage and telling its stories, is not just expressed in her quiet yet thoughtful clay sculptures but in drawing, photography and film.

“I am very much looking forward to seeing how her work develops as she spends time at Glenfiddich this summer.”

Lorna graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2021 after spending the final year of her degree living in Estonia.

She describes her practice as “journeying into the biography of the land” through the medium of clay. She said: “In producing a body of work, the walking, digging, carrying and processing is of equal importance to the finished sculpture.”

The RSA New Contemporaries exhibition brings together the work of new graduates selected from all five Scottish art schools.


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