Portrait art exhibition set to go on display in Sunderland

Double Portrait, by Thomas Ehretsmann, which took second prize in the BP Portrait Awards 2017 and is set to go on display in Sunderland.
Double Portrait, by Thomas Ehretsmann, which took second prize in the BP Portrait Awards 2017 and is set to go on display in Sunderland.

Pictures from one of the world’s most prestigious annual art competitions are to go on display in Sunderland as part of a three-month exhibition.

The BP Portrait Award has a first prize of £30,000, making it one of the largest for any global arts competition.

Its competition pictures last exhibited in Sunderland in 2014.

Entry is free and the 2017 winners can be seen from Saturday, March 24, to Sunday, June 10, at the city’s Museum, Library and Winter Gardens after arriving from the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh.

It will be the latest in a line of major national exhibitions to land at the venue.

In 2013 the Grayson Perry tapestries went on display followed by the V&A War Games, in 2014.

In 2015 a Canaletto painting went on show and work by Leonardo da Vinci is set to arrive in 2019.

Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council’s portfolio holder for culture, said: “Naturally, we are delighted to once again host an exhibition that represents the very finest in contemporary portraiture.

“Previous BP visits have been highlights for many visitors and this year’s visit is another unmissable exhibition at the Museum, Library & Winter Gardens.

“I believe we should take great pride in being selected to host such a wonderful exhibition and I would encourage everyone to visit and make the most of this opportunity to see more great art here in our city.”

The prize winners and exhibition were selected by a judging panel chaired by Dr Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery.

The full panel included Camilla Hampshire, museums manager and cultural lead, Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Exeter; Michael Landy, artist; Kirsty Wark, broadcaster; Sarah Howgate, senior curator, Contemporary Collections, National Portrait Gallery; and Des Violaris, director, UK Arts & Culture, BP.

Ms Violaris, director of UK Arts and Culture BP, said: “Every year the BP Portrait Award helps to encourage and inspire thousands of portrait artists to capture the stories of people from every walk of life and in all corners of the world.

“BP is proud to be supporting the BP Portrait Award for the twenty-eighth year, and we are delighted that it will continue through to 2022.

“Our aim in supporting the Award, and other cultural activities in the UK, is to bring to as wide an audience as possible the very best in arts and culture.”