This year, BBC Wildlife Magazine teamed up with the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) for its Wildlife Artist of the Year competition. This renowned competition was first launched in 2008, and finalists are invited to exhibit and sell their artworks as part of an annual exhibition, with 50% of the proceeds from all sales supporting the vital conservation work of DSWF.
“BBC Wildlife Magazine is thrilled to become a part of this prestigious competition,” says Paul McGuinness, editor of BBC Wildlife Magazine. “It’s a privilege to support such a wealth of hugely talented artists, as well as the great conservation projects the competition feeds into. The standard this year seems to have gone through the roof, and it was almost impossible to choose the winners from the thousands of entries. It will be fascinating to see how the public vote pans out.”
More than 260 pieces are available to view in the interactive virtual exhibition, allowing visitors to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of wildlife art, from their own home, through the DSWF immersive 3D gallery space from 26 May.
The public is now invited to judge the competition’s entrants and to choose their favourite piece in the BBC Wildlife Magazine People’s Choice Award. Submit your nomination on the DSWF website.
The artist whose work is voted as the favourite by the public will win a BBC Wildlife Magazine prize bundle consisting of a year’s subscription to BBC Wildlife Magazine (worth £58.50), a Wildlife World Solitary Bee Hive (worth £37.99), a Vango Stone 15 Navy Rucksack (worth £16.00) and a book of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Portfolio 29 (worth £25.00).
You can only submit one nomination from over 260 pieces of artwork, so make it count! Everyone who submits a nomination for this year’s competition will be entered into a prize draw to win a free DSWF adoption pack.
Everyone that signs up to attend the virtual exhibition will also be able to sign up for a free download of BBC Wildlife Magazine‘s May issue (pictured below).
Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021 competition
The winning and highly commended pieces were announced in a virtual awards ceremony on 25 May, and can be viewed in our online gallery.
A selection of pieces are also featured in the June issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine, on sale from Thursday 3 June.
The overall winner was Darren Rees with his acrylic painting, ‘Orcas, Blackfish Sound’.
The judges’ comments included, “This remarkable painting by Darren, as always, captures the atmosphere and scale of the environment he paints. The gentleness of the orcas swimming by such a spectacular backdrop reminds us of the beauty of our planet and how vitally important both land and ocean are to our very survival,” from Melanie Shepherd.
The overall runner-up position was awarded to Stella Mays for her pastel on board piece, ‘Fly By’.
The judges’ comments included, “Stella Mays is a master of pastel painting. This painting reinforces her immense skill, and the execution of the subject and the setting speaks clearly for itself. This is not only a superb composition overall but every square inch is a joy to behold. Look closely at the criss-crossing pastel marks, absorb the colours and the energy, and you realise that you are in the presence of a consummate artist,” from Hazel Soan.
BBC Wildlife Magazine Editor’s Choice
This year also saw the addition of the BBC Wildlife Magazine Editor’s Choice category, which was won by Pascal Chesneau with his polar bear sculpture, titled ‘Banquise’.
“A beautiful and skilful work that demands attention, celebrating its subject while provoking a powerful reaction to the reality of their plight,” says Paul. “The longer I gazed through the gaps where the bear should have been, the more I was struck by a brutal vision of these mighty animals disappearing from our frozen north.”