Sheffield Artist wins Top Art Prize

New Light, a forward thinking charity that supports talented contemporary artists in the North of England, is delighted to announce that Broken Brutalism by Mandy Payne has been awarded the £10,000 Valeria Sykes Award at the New Light Prize Exhibition 2015.

A Sheffield-based artist, Mandy studied for a BA in Fine Art with the University of Nottingham while working at a NHS dentist. Since 2012, she has been a full-time artist. Her work explores Park Hill in Sheffield, a Grade II* listed council estate and one of Britain’s largest examples of Brutalist architecture. Beyond Brutalism depicts the urban flux which the estate currently illustrates, with some parts of it transformed into luxury flats while other areas remain boarded up and derelict. Mandy uses materials integral to the estate itself to produce her work, namely aerosol paints which reference the graffiti on the buildings and concrete.

Laura Gascoigne, Art Reviewer and judge, commented: “Given the extraordinarily wide variety and high standard of this year's shortlist, choosing a single winner was a difficult decision, but in the end Mandy Payne's work stood out for the originality of its concept as well as its subtle artistry and technical skill.”

The Patron’s Choice Award of £2,500 was awarded to Josephine by Newcastle-born artist Joshua Waterhouse. Figs by Anna Poulton who lives in Harrogate, Yorkshire, was awarded the Swinton Foundation Prize for emerging artists, and the Zillah Bell Printmakers’ Prize was presented to Stone Pen by Emma Lawrenson who was born in Huddersfield and now lives in Holmfirth.

New Light received a record number of submissions this year for deliberation by the distinguished panel, comprising: Norman Ackroyd CBE RA, artist and organiser of the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition; The Lord Crathorne KCVO Kst J FSA LLD, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Arts & Heritage Group; Laura Gascoigne, art reviewer; Matthew Hall, Co-Founder, Panter & Hall; and Annette Petchey, Chief Executive, New Light.

The short-listed artists hail from across the North, representing the counties of Co Durham, Cumbria, Lancashire, Teesside, Tyne & Wear and Yorkshire. Other exhibitors (who were either born or studied in the North) made the short-list from as far afield as Cornwall, East Anglia, Ireland, Glasgow and Carmarthenshire. The judges were specifically looking for wall-hung work which showed exceptional artistic skills. Portraiture, landscapes and abstract works were all represented with the selection including paintings, prints, sculpture and mixed media.

The biennial New Light Prize Exhibition is the largest open prize dedicated to art from the Northern regions. It is open to all artists who were born, studied or live in one of the historical counties of the North of England. It recognises and rewards the skills of talented artists in the North and awards the region’s best prizes and exhibition opportunities.

Annette Petchey, CEO of New Light, said: "New Light continues to go from strength to strength. It has become recognised as the place to go for truly exceptional artistic skills, and imaginative, exciting work. The range of size and media of the work is testament to the breadth of expertise in the North of England, and New Light is delighted to be able to shine such a definitive light on it. The works range in price from less than £200 to £55,000, and all are offered for sale."

The winning artworks will be on display alongside the other selected works - a total of 84 by 61 artists, with three additional works by Josie Jenkins, winner of the 2013 Valeria Sykes Prize - at the Bowes Museum, Co Durham until 7 February 2016. The exhibition will then tour to the Mercer Gallery, Harrogate, in February after which a selection of the works will travel to Panter & Hall Gallery, London in June. All artworks are still in with a chance of winning the Visitors’ Choice Award which will be presented to the work which receives the most public votes at each venue.

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Exhibition information:

Dates: 17 October 2015 – 7 February 2016

Times: 10am – 5pm daily

Address: The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Co Durham DL12 8NP

Admission: £10.50 Adults, £9.50 Concessions (over 60), £6.00 Students


For further details and images please contact the Parker Harris Press Office:

Isabel Cooper ( & Rachel Coombes (

Tel. 01372 462190

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About New Light

New Light celebrates and promotes the quality of contemporary art being produced in the North of England and supports artists working in the region primarily through a major biennial touring exhibition. This is open to all Northern artists with prizes totaling over £15,000 including 'The Valeria Sykes Award' of £10,000. To raise the profile of Northern artists, we run a number of exhibitions and events nationwide, including an annual show in London where we showcase the work of both established artists and those at the start of their artistic career. Alongside this, we offer guidance, mentoring and professional advice. We also run an Art for All programme which is designed to make art accessible to everyone. This includes workshops with practising artists, talks with art experts, guided viewings and school projects. Our newest initiative is the New Light Collection, a permanent collection of art illustrating the talent and expertise of some of the best artists from the North. Offered to schools, hospitals and other community-based groups free of charge; it is also made available to corporate sponsors who would like to support arts in the North of England.