Birmingham sculptor wins a prize

Hannah Northam, a Harborne-based sculptor, has won a prize in the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists’ (RBSA) 2020 annual Open Exhibition.

The exhibition attracted almost 400 entries this year from all over the UK and abroad. The first prize went to Staffordshire artist, Mark Lippett, with Hannah’s sculpture, ‘Interlude’ taking second prize.

Clive Beardsmore, a Birmingham-based private collector, personally selected the two prize winners and donated the prizes.

‘Interlude’ is a free-flowing piece of work which Hannah developed over several months. It was modelled in clay and then carved and etched as the material dried out and finished in cold cast bronze with a verdigris patination.

Viv Astling OBE, Hon Secretary of the RBSA, said: “The standard of entries was very high this year and it is very exciting for a sculpture to win a prize at the RBSA annual Open Exhibition. I think the last piece of 3D work chosen to win a prize was ten years ago, so it is quite a thing for Hannah’s piece to gain this prestigious recognition.”

Hannah, who works in her Harborne studio in stone, clay, wax and plaster – and casts in bronze and resins – was delighted to receive this recognition.

She said: ““I am thrilled to have been selected as a prize winner in this year’s RBSA Open Exhibition. It is a fantastic accolade and a great honour for me to represent sculpture at the RBSA.

“I am interested in pierced forms and several pieces of my abstract work have involved negative spaces. With ‘Interlude’, I looked at the way the two holes in the form work together in a symbiotic way.  Originally, I was thinking of musical construction, an interruptive space or pause where something else happens. However, I inevitably find the human form emerging.  My work embodies both the abstract and the figurative.  Inspiration for me always comes from the truth I see in nature and the human spirit.”

Hannah left a career in advertising 1996 to study figurative sculpture and has become a sought-after sculptor since, with many high profile commissions including one to create a 2.01m high ‘Diana the Huntress’ sculpture for the Earl of Harrowby of Sandon Hall, Staffordshire.  She also made a larger than life-sized portrait bust of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown to mark the tercentenary of this great landscape architect. Last year, she recreated a pair of half life-sized rampant lions based on the 16th century originals which had been stolen from an estate in Northamptonshire.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the RBSA prize giving couldn’t go ahead as planned but the winners are currently showcased on the RBSA’s Art Blog website.
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