Royal Arts Prize 2017 Shortlisted Artists

Minty Sainsbury

Minty studied architecture at the University of Cambridge graduating top of her year in 2013 and went on to work in a London architectural practice. Here she discovered that the drawing board no longer has a place in the modern architectural office, so she returned to the pencil with the intention of keeping the art of architectural drawing alive.

Her background in architecture has not only influenced her choice of subject matter but also her style of drawing. She spent years designing floor plans and positioning windows on modern facades and you can see this understanding of spatial design expressed in the compositions of her drawings.

She is originally from Comrie in Scotland but now lives and works in London. 

b. 1991

Lydia Panart

Toronto-based Canadian artist Lydia Panart is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Inspired by the beauty of its European-influenced architecture, Panart studied at the National University of Buenos Aires, and graduated as an architect in 1991. In the course of her professional practice, she took additional classes in Fine Arts, Art History, Semiotics and Aesthetic Theory.


Panart has participated in numerous North, Central and South American juried exhibitions including European countries. Her international exposure includes invitations to art symposia, representing Canada and Argentina respectively in these important annual events. As part of Toronto's hosting the 2015 pan and Parapan American Games, Panart was invited to participate in "Art of The Americas" exhibit, which included the works of internationally renowned artists. in addition, she was invited to participate in Art expo New York 2016, Florence Design Week, held at the Grand Palazzo Borghese, Red Dot Miami as part of Art Basel Miami, and most recently the London Art Biennale 2017, receiving a Special Mention of Excellence. She was also honoured with an award for the ArtTour International Magazine's Top 60 Masters of Contemporary Art 2016 in Montagnac, France. Panart has promoted the arts in many institutions including The McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the Art Gallery of Ontario. She regularly donates her work to charitable art auctions for fundraising purposes. In 2016, Panart was nominated for the TD Bank's 2016 "10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians".

Carol Rowling

Carol studied Art and Design at the Carine College of TAFE and the Claremont School of Art in Perth Western Australia from 1991 to 1995. She was born in Melbourne, Victoria and now currently resides in Perth, Western Australia.


Carols influences come from the grandeur of the vast Australian landscape over which she flies on a regular basis, she is constantly amazed at the imagery of the textures, colours and rugged formations created over time in this very ancient land. She conveys this in an abstract way using mixed media, acrylic and ochre collected from her trips to the Kimberley and Pilbara regions of Western Australia. The richness of colour and texture that the ochre provide not only lend to the layers of paint and tone, but of the layering of time in which these granules have been formed over the centuries which she feels gives a strong presence and place to her works.


In Australia Carol has exhibited in numerous group shows in Perth, the Metamorphoses Gallery in Willetton W.A, Beth Hulme Gallery in Melbourne, Victoria and the Global Gallery in Paddington Sydney N.S.W. A solo  exhibition was held at the Perth Concert Hall in St Georges Terrace, Perth W.A. 


Carol currently works out of Robertson Park Artists Studio in Fitzgerald St. North Perth. Internationally Carol has exhibited widely in group shows with Trevisan International Art, in the Atenao Gallery in Madrid, Spain, the Kenny Gallery in Galway Ireland, the Galleria De'Marchi Bologna Italy, Estense Castle Ferrara Italy and the Florence Biennale, Italy.


In 2015 she exhibited at the Chianciano Biennale in Tuscany and with Trevisan International Art and was awarded a prize for "Excellence" at the Gallery De"Marchi in Bologna Italy, in the show titled "Little Treasures"Carols works can be found in the private and corporate collections.

Chris Gornall

Chris Gornall is a British sculptor, born in England in 1932. After spending his early adulthood in East Africa he returned to the UK to practise medicine and forged a long and successful career as a family doctor. Although never having had formal art school training, a lifetime of influences coupled with a passionate appreciation of artists such as Epstein, Modigliani, George Kennethson and the Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, has greatly informed his work. 


It was during a chance visit to Kennethson’s final solo exhibition at the Roche Court Sculpture Garden in Wiltshire in 1993 that Gornall was inspired to move toward working with stone for the first time. 


Gornall uses fine local materials such as Alabaster, Cornish Polyphant and Ancaster Limestone from Lincolnshire. His preference is to rely on the shape and size of these stones to find his inspiration. The nature of the stone, its hardness and texture will eventually inform the final apperance of the piece. 


His work now spans over two decades, and has featured in galleries and institutions nationally, including several pieces that have been cast as bronzes. Gornall’s sculpture has featured in galleries and institutions nationally, including the Pall Mall Galleria London, the RWA Bristol and the Victoria Gallery Bath. Gornall has also shown work with the Society of Portrait Sculptors, London.

Komal Madar

Komal Madar is a British born painter based in West London. In 2003 she completed her Art and Design foundation at Central Saint Martins and later her Post graduate Diploma in Fine Art at Byam Shaw College of Art.


Visually I want my work to be beautiful and the point of entry to be intriguing to evoke an emotion in people. I work intuitively because I believe that’s when I create my most exciting work. Having the element of surprise is what keeps my investigation of materials and processes evolving.


My primary work draws inspiration from Nature, Abstract forms as well as Indian influences. I paint mainly with acrylics and use a range of mixed media. I gather inspiration from my experiences, surroundings and dreams; I paint instinctively, evoking emotions through my work as I experiment with new and different styles and materials. This investigative method gives a personal exploratory energy to my paintings. The abstract forms allow the viewer a glimpse into my own subconscious as patterns from nature are depicted with vibrant passion, wrapping around the forms of figures twisted in pleasure.


My Indian heritage is another key influence to my work, seen visually in the use of materials such as Indian textiles, pigment powders and henna, and in the sprawling, intricate patterns, which add depth and texture to my canvases.

Mark B. Timmins

Mark B. Timmins graduated from Wolverhampton University with a degree in Visual Communication (Illustration). A career in the greetings card industry as an in-house Senior Illustrator/Designer followed. However, he has always kept time aside to develop his more personal work. 


Timmins's work deals with his own Inner Child. He paints the figures and the landscapes of his childhood memory which combines with myth and other imaginary elements. Timmins's paintings are in acrylics painted onto canvas.

Timmins's paints his interior world. He sees his art as a form of spiritual practice and as a way to better understand himself. He aims to paint the world as seen through the eyes of his eight year old self in all its' naivety and wonder!

Kokil Sharma

Kokil is a London based artist who has been painting and drawing since a very early age. As she was growing up, she participated and won numerous awards and competitions, which led her to pursue a career in art. At the time she felt inclined towards learning about Interiors and Architecture and hence decided to pursue a degree in Architectural Technology at the University of Westminster in 2005.


However, she deeply missed her process of creating art and felt a little off track. So, after working in the industry for a few years, Kokil decided to go back to her fine art roots. She picked up where she had left off and started working on new ideas and techniques. She also developed skills with digital tools and worked on web, graphic and illustration projects. Kokil enjoys working with different styles, mediums and techniques.


However, her greatest strength and passion lies in abstraction. She feels that there is something about a subconscious creation that speaks to anyone carefully looking at it. Abstract paintings grab the onlooker's attention at a subconscious level through colours, textures and fluid patterns. Her paintings are bold, uplifting and vibrant with a transcendental quality.


Kokil works from her home studio in London but enjoys travelling around the world to find new ideas and inspiration. She works with various mediums depending on the subject and mood but most of her work is either in acrylics or a mix of acrylics and other mediums. Kokil also enjoys creating digital paintings and illustrations in her spare time.

Nina Baxter

London based artist Nina Baxter (b.1992) produces geometric abstract paintings that focus on the interaction of colour. 


Baxter graduated from The Courtauld Institute of Art with a BA in Art History. Currently working from a studio in Peckham’s Bussey Building, her abstract paintings draw inspiration from landscape, architecture, photography and music. Baxter often uses collage as a drawing technique and method of arranging compositions. 


Constantly finding new inspiration and influences to inform her art, Baxter has recently been interested in the patterns and structures found in man-made vs. natural designs. Research into colour theory and the relationship between harmony in music and colour also inform her practice. Baxter considers her background in Art History fundamental to her creative process which is evident in the resulting work. Artists such as Josef Albers, Henri Matisse and Bridget Riley are among influences, not only for their paintings, but also for their written work and ideas. 

Tatyana Abramova

I was born in Kazan. I graduated from art school, then Kazan Architectural Construction University with a degree in architecture and design I first started practicing painting and graphics in 2013, alongside my day job. Since then I’ve been exploring many different areas of creative practice.


"I work fast and impulsively, I surrender to the moment. I like experimenting, new ideas, new people and places that influence my work. The sense of solitude and self-immersion is an integral part of creating my paintings – they are the best part of me, and I am a part of them. I choose to be myself, accept and digest all that life offers, and never look back.” My works are presented in private collections in Russia and abroad. 

Dr. Martín Raskovsky

Dr. Martín Raskovsky is an eclectic artist with an incomparable and complex aesthetic touch. Dr. Raskovsky's work is characterised by dreamlike other worldly natural landscapes. His images are fantasy-like but with a hint of realism that evokes a poetic, tantalising and intriguing response.


Since early childhood, photography has been in Dr. Martín Raskovsky's heart. However, he is a computer scientist by profession, or was it perhaps the other way around? Until now he has refused to publish his photography. Just now, 2016 saw him coming out to an art gallery for the first time. From the early days in a dark room build in the bathroom of his parents home, to the present days of digital manipulation, Dr. Martín Raskovsky’s work has been characterised by imagination, surrealism and impressionism, his photographs are many times seen as paintings. In his own words, he goes to sleep with the photographic camera near at the bed side table, when a dreams comes, he uses it as a palete and brush to capture what is in his inside.

Michel Platteau

Michel Platteau (b. 1975, Bangkok, lives and works in Abu Dhabi).

A self-taught artist trained as a commercial pilot, in 2009 Michel Platteau moved to Abu Dhabi to pursue his flying career. Soon, while traversing the world, ostensibly he picks up a paintbrush in order to recollect his variety of impressions which got translated into unique, from his early work, figurative pieces of art on his canvas. Driven, this resulted in his first solo exposition at the Ghaf Gallery in Abu Dhabi, February 2012.

Further whilst continuously exploring the boundaries of modern painting, the year 2014 saw a pivotal change in his art where Platteau turned himself to complete abstraction, of sort of exploring repetitive linear encounters in geometrical art.

Today Platteau abides by Spatial Constructivism, his means of reducing visual clues to an abstract synthesis of what the human eye perceives on a daily basis. That is by expanding repetitions, thus widening viewer's perspectives.

Michel lives with his wife and 2 children in Abu Dhabi.

His work remains in private collections in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Belgium.






Radan Cicen

Radan Cicen is a London-based artist working in London.

Her background in design, people around her and the nature of life influenced her painting. A majority of Radan Cicen’s work can be considered as Contemporary portraiture but she doesn’t limit her work to one topic alone and works on figurative, abstract, landscape and various scale of oil and mix technique paintings. 

In her paintings, she explores the ideas of self. Her work is not rigidly planned out, rather, it is created spontaneously, which keeps it fluid and creatively free with full of opportunities. She tries to convey her concept through layers of paint, making the layers of life within the body into a parallel skin story of our thoughts and its form. How each piece is interpreted differs from person to person, there is no right or wrong way to interprets these artworks.

Emmanuelle Velay

Emmanuelle Velay is a visual arts graduate from Saint-Etienne University (France). As primary school art teacher for ten years, she lead art projects in diverse styles from street art to traditional art forms. Life gave her other priorities end her art was left in the background for about fifteen years. Upon experiencing a life charging illness, she felt the urge to reconnect with art. The exhibition reflects her inner voyage to reconstruction of health and life after this event. Her art, like a palimpsest works on deciphering layers upon layers what transparence hides.


Applying thick layers of paint results in sharp peaks and well defined valleys that allow an individual artist's brushwork to support its purpose, as well as being authenticated, through to the distinct patterns left by that Impasto. Alterations may then occur, but I find that each and every medium crakle or cracking belongs to my very grounds of expression and identity in my work : like as many scars left through time on bodies and souls, they contribute to define character, unique beauty and consistancy of my painting. 

Serpil Mavi Üstün

Serpil Mavi Üstün was born in Çanakkale in 1979 graduating in 2008 from the Fine Arts Faculty of Mimar Sinan University, Neş'e Erdok Studio. Üstün attended Hüsnü Koldaş's arctic mosaics, fresco and sigrafito workshop for two years and has lived in the UK since April 2016


"I am greatly influenced by the philosopher Heidegger's statement that the work of art "creates a world of its own". From this, I find a world created by the paintings themselves, as a result of my own direct dialogue with myself. This is a special, tranquil world reorganised with patience that invites harmony through imagination and purity." - Serpil Mavi Üstün



Salvatore Battaglia

Salvatore Battaglia is an Italian artist born in Sicily (1985), where he studied at Liceo Artistico "Diego Bianca Amato" in Cefalù to obtain a diploma of goldsmith and qualification of art master. Studying in art school from the age of 14, it was always a dream of his to be able to express his thoughts through painting. Working as a ceramic artist, he developed skills to paint on various materials and surfaces while understanding colour and its use.


Salvatore is currently living in London for more than 7 years and he spent most of his time working in the hospitality sector. Even though he enjoyed to work with people on daily basis, he did not have enough spare time to express himself. Leaving behind the hospitality industry last year, he dedicates his time solely to painting and creating now.



Bridget Macklin

Geology is at the core of my ceramics:


Working with porcelain, which I use because of its connotations of value and fragility, I hand build using slabs and battened coils, mixing found materials into the clay and scraping back to reveal fantastic and colourful strata. I delight in the repeated refining of my pieces, revelling in the challenge of taking risks with the materials, constantly striving to make the most lustrous pieces which only reveal their full nature on close inspection. The interior of each piece sometimes tells a little more of the story. I might incorporate Drawings, maps or hand written notes which hint at a place or time of significance, highlighting the links between the land and the material used in the making.

Yassine Mourit

Yassine Mourit is a moroccan born London based visual artist/designer. He graduated with a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration from the National School of Fine Art in Casablanca.


Geometry and figures are central to Yassine’s work. He paints in layers and combines elements into human life stories. His works are influenced from past and present life experiences, often focusing on human expressions, divulging secrets and exploring stories with a look of more than one meaning. Each work carries a certain story, emotion outside and inside spheres, combining abstract elements with figuration and geometrical lines. His arrangements are realistic and moves into a space of small details.

Tomas Rowell

2014 Graduated, Leeds College of Art, Leeds.


There is a conscious effort to confront the physical qualities of painting over any external embodiment. The physical depth of the artwork overpowers the traditional views of painting, granting a sculptural approach to minimalist art. There is a conscious structure applied through the use of dramatic colour and geometric shapes that implement a sense of harmony through simplicity. When observed closely, the work unnerves the viewer by denying balance, through the reflective nature of metal paint which confuses the conscious view point.

Michelle Key
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“Have you ever watched someone who is oblivious to your gaze? I love to see people who are unconsciously being self-conscious.”


Michelle Key is best known for her large bronze public sculptures in South Africa where she worked after obtaining a Masters degree in Fine Art at Rhodes University.

Michelle Key now lives in Australia and recently spends a lot of her time in Spain where she also has a studio. Her paintings are represented in Australia, Spain, Ireland and South Africa. Michelle’s work could be described as paintings of memories and of feelings that have been re-imagined. She says she now has a love affair with natural, cotton paper because of the way it absorbs and reacts to paints, charcoal, pastel and inks. Creating diverse textures. Her figurative work at times seems to emerge from an abstract background. Michelle focuses mainly on solitary people, usually women, who have been photographed surreptitiously. Her paintings swing from scenes that are bright, carefree innocence to sensual, moody ones marked with stains that feel like they were rescued from a hazy past.

Gillian Hyland

Gillian Hyland is an image maker; she personally composes every aspect of her pictures. Originally from Ireland, Gillian’s career began in publishing, where she worked as a fashion stylist and features writer for a number of well-known national magazines. This led to a move into the television industry, and later into the film industry, where she worked in a variety of roles, including stylist, set designer, and art director.

Since 2007 Gillian has been living in London. This period has seen her create imagery for fashion shoots, commercials and advertising campaigns for a range of high-profile international clients and brands. 

This diverse background helped her develop a passion for making images, which evolved into her own distinctive photographic style. Gillian released her first fine art series ‘Words in Sight’ in 2014; since then her photographs have been exhibited around the world and received several awards.

Dominic Beyeler

Dominic Beyeler (born 1984) would really have preferred to be a superhero if he’d only been able to learn how to fly. Today, he’s just happy that he doesn’t have to wear tights to work – which would have been embarrassing even at home in his own studio.


After finishing the preparatory course and various drawing and illustration courses at the Bern School of Design, he completed a graphics apprenticeship at the LangGysiKnoll advertising agency. He then spent several years working as a graphic artist and art director in various advertising agencies, and studied at the ADC/BSW Kreativschule (known today as the Ad School). He has been self-employed as an illustrator, graphic designer and art director since August 2013. He is also working on his third children’s book as well as a number of comics and art projects.


A person’s character is strongly expressed in their lines. You can tell from someone’s handwriting, for example, if they have a structured, straightforward and organised personality, or a chaotic, impulsive and extroverted one. Deliberately adjusting your own handwriting is exhausting; and in handwriting as well as in drawing, you need a lot of time to develop an idiosyncratic style. It’s essential not to work against your own nature.


I wanted to make peace with my spontaneous form of expression 
and my jerky lines, so I let go of my need for perfection, which only held me back. At some point, I simply had to resign myself to the fact that I was chaotic and always would be. And with every illustration I was better able to accept my messy lines, to play with them, and even to control them a little. Maybe that’s what it takes: to give free rein to chance, but to also learn to control the chaos.

Hatty Butler
'Into the light'

"My work revolves around people; capturing their emotions, experiences and struggles. My aim is to convey these feelings via contemporary art, creating dynamic, vivid images. My love for texture, method and material helps me capture these emotions. I am passionate about using my art to celebrate unique and interesting people. Highlighting and embracing those who may normally be overlooked or criticised for being different.


We live in a society where the abnormal is laughed upon and my aim is to alter these outdated views. Art can be the most innovative and compelling form of providing change within our society."

Sarah Stafford

From Goldsmith of 17 years to designer of precision laser-cut wall panels; Sarah has transferred and developed her metalworking skills from miniature to large-scale.


She graduated from The Cass in 2000 with a 1st class honours degree in Jewellery & Silversmithing, and has exhibited extensively in the UK at Chelsea Crafts Fair, Origin and the prestigious Goldsmiths’ Fair at the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths for 12 consecutive years.


Her jewellery collections have been based upon the themes of repetition, geometry and how the tiniest, most insignificant parts can create complex and strong, balanced forms. Plant cells, microbiology and geometry all play a part in the development and design of her work, and she strives to execute her bespoke fine art-jewellery with precision, skill and attention to detail, mostly hand-making, with CAD utilised for more complex pieces.


A commission in 2014 for P&O’s newest flagship liner, Britannia, saw her work transformed to a new scale, and brought her into the realm of large-scale metal artworks and installations; although the thread of her core aesthetic belief remains unchanged.


"DIVE" is the pseudonym and platform under which a genuine, raging truth-strive takes place. This in order to LET the passing, as close to its source of rawness as possible, simply pass thru. Using this improvisational, expressive approach the hard work lays in striving for that beyond - and when it starts flowing - to ragingly, genuinely run after it! Generally worked with in high-intensity sessions for hours. Most frequently with the aid of raw brushes and or painting knives.


Born in Paris, currently based in Sweden - artist "DIVE"'s home platform is Dive Madhouse, located in the old factory workspace-building 'Sockerbruket' in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Oksana Levchenya-Konstantinovska
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Oksana Levchenya-Konstantinovska was born in Bershad, the Vinnitsa region, Ukraine. Graduated Kiev Medical University named A.A.Bogomolets by speciality of surgery in 2001. Studied painting with Alexandra Prahova.


From 2009 till today Oksana had participated in many exhibitions in Ukraine and worldwide. Her solo exhibitions include: "Screenshot", "Arsenal", Kiev, Ukraine; "Warlike feminism" FineArt Gallery", Kiev, Ukraine. Oksana participated in such group exhibitions: "Art Southampton", NY, USA; "Arsenale 2012", Arsenal, Kiev, Ukrane; Ukrainian paradox", ArtByGeneva Fair, Geneva, Switzerland; The London Biennial, London, Great Britain.


She lives and works in Kiev, Ukraine.