Monday September 7th 2020

The time is up! After months of deep thought and hard work, nine of the 10 top winners of the Victoria Art Project Competition, have finally been chosen.

Voting for the overall winner – the People’s Prize – is now open.

The competition, in partnership with Victoria Square Woking Ltd, #WeAreWoking and The Lightbox, attracted an unprecedented 400 submissions from professional artists, schools, students and enthusiasts from right across the borough – all vying for the chance of a £500 cash prize and to have their work on public and permanent display.

After days of judging by an expert panel, there were nine winners across a range of categories:

William Butler (Drawing)

Francois Davies (Photography)

Lavona Bugay (Painting)

Dawn Conn (Sculpture)

Charlie Tolley (Textiles)

Barbara Nati (Print)

Emmeline Stanley, Aman Komatsu and Annie Lewry (11-19 age group)

All the winning art works, and more than 120 specially-chosen submissions, are now on virtual display at The Lightbox which you can view here: https://emperia.gallery/TheLightbox/1/index.htm

You can also vote for your own top choice to win the People’s Prize by clicking the VOTE button located on bottom left hand side of the display.

Marilyn Scott, Director of The Lightbox, said the talent and standard of work was incredibly high.

“The talent and brilliance of our local community shone through in the competition and the judges found it hard to make a final selection,” Marilyn said.

The aim behind the open call at Victoria Square was to provide a chance for Woking’s community to directly and creatively contribute towards the Victoria Square development, connecting the site with the town and its people but to also give artists the opportunity to express their creativity and to showcase their works to a local and international audience.

Winner of the painting category Layona Bugay was delighted.

“I jumped at the chance to enter the competition, as the idea of having a piece of art displayed in a gallery for the very first time was too good to pass up. I never in a million years thought that I would win,” Layona said. “When the winners were announced I couldn’t believe it. Having seen the standard of the other entries, I feel honoured to be recognised amongst such amazing local talent.”

Dawn Conn, who won the top prize for her sculpture, was delighted to be involved too.

“I never dreamed of being a sculptor, and having grown up on a farm in New Zealand it seemed impossible. However, after attending an art retreat I felt joy deep inside my heart, and spent the next seven years exploring sculpting,” Dawn Conn. “It was great to be involved in the Lightbox Gallery Open Art Competition, and I was thrilled and grateful to win the sculpture prize with my piece that celebrates inspirational women.”

Photography category winner Francoise Davies, who has lived in Woking for 30 years, said: “I’ve been closely watching the progress of the Victoria Square project, and when I learned of the competition I was excited to enter. I was delighted to be one of the winners. It’s extremely rewarding to learn that others enjoyed my work.”

Woking Borough Council also lent its support to the creative initiative.

“It’s an exciting time to be a Woking resident as we transform the borough into a thriving community for future generations by creating a vibrant, cosmopolitan centre in which people will be proud to live, work and play," Councillor David Bittleston, Leader of Woking Borough Council, said.

“The enthusiasm we feel for the changing face of Woking has been reflected in the great variety and outstanding quality of artwork that has been created. It will be a pleasure and privilege to display so many stunning works of art in the new Victoria Square development and my only regret is that there could not be more winners selected.”

For more information, visit: https://www.thelightbox.org.uk/victoria-square-art-project.

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