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Olivia McGilchrist Dubbed Under 40 Artist 2012

(l-r) Leasho Johnson, Marvin Bartley & Olivia McGilchrist

Kingston, Jamaica: Olivia McGilchrist walked away with the Jury prize for the 2012 Superplus Under 40 Artist of the Year. McGilchrist shared the glory with fellow photographer Marvin Bartley who earned the public vote for Artist of the Year. The Superplus Under 40 Artist of the Year 2012 opened at the Mutual Gallery on November 1, 2012 and the winners were announced on Monday, November 19 2012.

Gilou Bauer, director of the Mutual Gallery, pointed to the overwhelming public interest that the 2012 exhibition has received. Bauer explained that for the first time in the competition’s 12 year history, it is managing to attract the number of patrons that they have been wanting to see flock to the gallery’s doors.

“We’re trying to get the information out that what our young artists are doing is important and that they have a very powerful voice,” she said.

As a part of her prize, McGilchrist receives the opportunity to stage a solo exhibition at the Mutual Gallery, along with a $100,000.00 purse. Bartley earned $50,000.00 as the winner of the public vote.

The 2012 shortlist comprised McGilchrist, Bartley, Leasho Johnson and Berette McCaulay.  Of the four, Johnson was the sole painter with the other three submitting photography. According to Bauer, McGilchrist is the third photographer to have copped the prize. She noted that photography was increasingly popular amongst the contestants.

Bauer explained that while the competition encourages and is open to new media, they are particularly interested in the development of new styles. She noted that the judges were very impressed with Johnson’s integration of paintings and three-dimensional objects.

The installations of all four artists explored ideas of identity from very different angles. Bauer noted that this interest in identity has been a growing trend in content of participants over the past 10 years. She argues that this was a very positive step.

“I am glad to see artists looking beyond themselves,” Bauer said, explaining that this outward focus augers well for international recognition.

The exhibition has received an extended run and is now slated to close on Friday, August 30, 2012.