David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022
View the winning and highly commended entries from this year's competition, find out how to attend the virtual exhibition, and how to vote in BBC Wildlife People's Choice Award.
BBC Wildlife has teamed up again with the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) to support its internationally renowned annual competition and exhibition. This year’s competition attracted 850 artists from 55 countries, with a total of 1,654 artworks entered.
Launched by celebrated wildlife artist and conservationist David Shepherd CBE, Wildlife Artist of the Year epitomises his ‘Art of Survival’ legacy – a concept on which DSWF was founded.
Using the power of art to celebrate wildlife, support awareness and raise vital funds for species protection is at the heart of the wildlife charity. Since its inception in 2008, the contest has raised over £1.2 million to support vital conservation work across Africa and Asia.
Finalists are invited to exhibit and sell their artworks as part of an annual exhibition, with 50 per cent of the proceeds from all sales supporting the vital conservation work of DSWF.
DSWF has made Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022 accessible to more people globally through an online gallery space. You will be able to enjoy the astonishing beauty of wildlife art, in your own home, until 2nd October 2022.
Artworks from all the finalists will be exhibited, including the winners, runners-up and highly commended, and you can vote for your favourite in the BBC Wildlife People’s Choice Award 2022. Submit your nomination on the DWSF website.
The artist whose work is voted as the favourite by the public will win a year's subscription to BBC Wildlife (13 issues total worth £64.87).
You can only submit one nomination, so make it count!
Voting closes midday on Friday 30th September 2022, with the winner announced shortly after.
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Overall winner: 'Costa Rican Cloud Forest' by Cy Baker
Medium: Biro and oil
Judge's comment: This is spectacular; in its undeniable technical expertise, in the magical, lush atmosphere it oozes – and mindblowing when you consider that it was created with just a simple Biro. Cy is the absolute king of the Biro and DSWF’s worthy Wildlife Artist of the Year 2022! Gary Hodges
Overall runner-up: 'Dappled Respite' by Gordon Pembridge
Judge's comment: You can actually feel the heat emanating from this beautifully painted guinea fowl portrait, and almost hear their excited chatter as they try to find shade from the blistering African sun. A masterpiece. Melanie Shepherd
Animal Behaviour winner: 'Striding On' by Emma Swift
Judge's comment: This painting is just ‘wow’. There was a unanimous vote for this piece with shocking colour and power at the helm. The hunch, gaze and motion of the orangutan is both compelling and haunting. There is clear emotion and intent with this painting, and the technique is so free and brave it was celebrated by all of the judges. A perfect balance between expressionist flare and realistic painting – a devotion to articulating the true nature and personality of this animal. Brilliant. Emily Lamb
The Artist Editor’s Choice Award winner: 'Lone Bee' by Annabel Thornton
Judge's comment: I love the mix of the detail describing the hovering bee and the loose abstraction of the background, which adds a sense of dynamism and reinforces the graceful dance of this delicate creature, which is so critical to our ecosystem. Annabel’s bold and daring use of colour sets the tone and atmosphere of the composition whilst inviting the viewer to engage with the flight and plight of the bee, drawing attention to its decline as the result of multiple threats, including habitat loss, disease and climate change. Sally Bulgin (editor of The Artist magazine)
Earth’s Wild Beauty winner: 'Dawn Light, Cape Mercy, Baffin Island 2019' by Nicholas Jones
Medium: acrylic on canvas
Judge's comment: A supremely powerful portrayal of how the ice floes are melting due to climate change. The stunning simplicity of his work says it all – it’s a simple, stark message to the world. Melanie Shepherd
Elizabeth Hosking Prize for Watercolour winner: 'The Unleashed' by Vikrant Shitole
Judge's comment: I find this a very confident watercolour by someone who knows how to use their paint and brush to maximise the luminescence of this medium in a free and expressive manner. I particularly like the background on the left, with its wonderful use of paint merging and spreading, and then the detail of the face. Surely some of the excitement of watercolour is that freedom of the paint compared to other mediums. Elizabeth Hosking
Wings winner: 'Black Skimmer' by Matthew Polluk
Medium: pen, ink and gold leaf
Judge's comment: There is something very ancient and ethereal about this piece – a truly beautiful creation. The wake of the bird on the water suggests a portal of sorts on the gold, pristine backdrop. The artist has taken an image and moment in time and truly transformed it into something that stops one in one’s tracks. Emily Lamb
Human Impact Winner: 'Not a Gift' by Levi Hurst
Medium: pencil on paper
Judge's comment: Art can allow us to contemplate certain uncomfortable truths in a more palatable space. This brave and skilfully executed artwork draws attention to the cruel trade in tiger parts, highlighting the indignity with a clear statement that this is “not a gift”. The exquisite detail in the drawing invites us to sit a little longer with an ugly reality, allowing the imagery to filter deeper into our subconscious. Martin Aveling
Urban Wildlife Winner: 'Richmond' by Amy Rogers
Medium: charcoal and pencil on paper
Judge's comment: I find this charcoal drawing very moving, and I am not entirely sure what it is that is so endearing about it. Maybe it is the affinity with some British subject matter, when so many wildlife paintings are from exotic lands. The composition is exciting, the pencil and charcoal work looks good but I guess it is the atmosphere that is so compelling. Hazel Soan
Into the Blue winner: 'A Cast of Crabs' by Jacqueline Bright
Medium: pastel drawing on paper
Judge's comment: How can crabs grab our attention? Easy when the talented eye of an artist like Jacqueline Bright draws a stunningly empathetic artwork, every inch crammed full with subtle colours and swirling movement. Gary Hodges
Michelle Lee Howk’s First Time Entrants Award winner: 'Let the Good Times Roll' by Ginger Gehres
Judge's comment: We love the originality of an animal relaxing and off its hooves. The skill is amazing, capturing the movement of the animal and elements. We would proudly hang this in our living room as it draws you in to look more closely. Michelle and Jason Howk
Facing Extinction Winner: 'Anyone Out There?' by Joni-Leigh Doran
Medium: oil on canvas
Judge's comment: So many times we have seen the ice bear being portrayed with photographic precision, and although each stand on their own merit, the judges found this one compelling on another level. Something lonely, not just ‘alone’ is felt here. Something calling and inviting. A beckoning of strong calls to action. Of change. A deeply emotional piece, let alone exquisitely executed. Emily Lamb
Image: Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021 Overall Winner – Orcas, Blackfish Sound by Darren Rees