Kiki Xuebing Wang has been awarded the John Moores Painting Prize 2020 Visitors’ Choice, sponsored by Rathbones.

The exhibition launched online in February 2021 while the gallery was still closed to the public due to the pandemic. A dynamic virtual tour gave viewers the opportunity to explore the vivid colours, themes and approaches to paint selected for this year’s show and place their vote for their favourite.  When the Walker Art Gallery reopened, visitors were able to see works in person and continued to vote on gallery for the painting that caught their eye.

Sandra Penketh, Executive Director of Art Galleries & Collections Care at National Museum Liverpool, said:

“We are very pleased to award Kiki Xuebing Wang the 2020 Visitors’ Choice, on behalf of the John Moores Painting Prize audience, who were drawn to this intriguing image. “Kiki was awarded the inaugural Emerging Artist Prize in March by the jury, and it is wonderful to see that the public share the jury’s appreciation of this captivating work. Kiki’s work invites the viewer to inspect this seemingly abstract image much more deeply. On closer inspection we become increasingly aware of both the texture and colours which make up such an everyday object – a shoe. “We would like to thank Rathbones for supporting this popular prize which encourages visitors to really consider what makes a great painting.”

Artist, Kiki Xuebing Wang said:

“It feels amazing to win Visitors’ Choice. There are so many brilliant paintings in the exhibition, so I’m thrilled that mine caught a few eyes! Thank you to the Walker Art Gallery and the John Moores Painting Prize for bringing together such a great exhibition and providing this opportunity for artists.”

Alex Richmond, Director of Tax and Trusts at Rathbones, said:

“Art plays a vital role in our society and its importance has only been underscored in the last year where we’ve largely been unable to visit galleries and museums. We are delighted to sponsor the John Moores Painting Prize Visitors’ Choice again this year and have been impressed by the Gallery’s ingenuity in continuing the award during these exceptional circumstances, and the public’s dedication in visiting and voting online for the winner. “Our purpose has always been to look forward and supporting young and emerging artists who are redefining the way that we all see the world is an integral part of this. Congratulations to Kiki Xuebing Wang for her fascinating and thought-provoking piece. We look forward to seeing what she does next!” 

The 2020 jury, who selected the 67 exhibited paintings from almost 3,000 entries were: Hurvin Anderson; Michelle Williams Gamaker; Alison Goldfrapp; Jennifer Higgie and Gu Wenda. From large scale canvases, bold in brush strokes and colour, to exquisitely detailed pieces, their selection represents a wide range of styles, united by their use of paint.

The jury awarded Katherine Maple the £25,000 first prize in March 2021 for her stunning, large-scale work, The Common in March 2021. The painting has since been acquired for the Walker Art Gallery’’s collection. The four shortlisted paintings were: The Neanderthal Futures Infirmary by Robbie Bushe, Compost by Michele Fletcher, The Motherland by Steph Goodger and March by Stephen Lee.

 The jury also selected Kiki Xuebing Wang as the inaugural winner of the John Moores Painting Prize’s Emerging Artist Prize, developed to support artists in the early stages of their career. Supported by Winsor & Newton, Kiki was awarded £2,500; premium art materials of the same value, and an exciting residency opportunity.

Previous first prize winners include David Hockney (1967), Mary Martin (1969), Lisa Milroy (1989), Peter Doig (1993), Keith Coventry (2010) and Rose Wylie (2014). Sir Peter Blake, winner of the junior prize in 1961, is Patron of the Prize.  

The John Moores Painting Prize is organised in partnership with the John Moores Painting Prize Trust. The exhibition is showing as part of Liverpool Biennial 2021, the largest festival of contemporary art in the UK, taking place across the city’s public spaces, galleries and museums.

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