"How convenient it is to declare that everything is totally ugly within the habit of the époque, rather than applying oneself to extract from it the dark and cryptic beauty, however faint and invisible it is."
Untitled no 18, Alice McFarlane, 2021.
Refresh Art Award is an independent project set up in 2017 by artists Georgina Talfana and Shefali Wardell. It is an art competition that is run on a biannual basis, with prizes and an exhibition for shortlisted artists. We wanted to experiment with a different model that gave a little value to all entrants, rather than just the selected few and have continued to build on this.
The first show was in 2019 in London's Brick Lane 5th Base Gallery, and the current show will be in the AMP Gallery in Peckham in November 2021.
Since setting up the award, Georgina Talfana is concentrating on other projects and RAA is currently just run by Shefali Wardell, with a little help from a small team of part-time freelance employees and a few friends and family members. The main judge for 2021's selection is collector and artist Mr Marcus Woodcock, with curation done by the Refresh team.
Running the project the first time was exciting as well as being a giant learning curve, and much of what we learned has been implemented for the current award. You can read all about why we're different in the CURATOR'S 2021 FAQs section.