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> > > Yinka Shonibare MBE announces winning artists for Shape Open 2013
image of an upside down distorted face against a dark background taken as a still from a

Eric Fong Reflection 05. Video still.

Yinka Shonibare, Patron to Shape, a disability-led arts organisation, announced the winner and runner up to their annual Shape Open exhibition 2013 as Eric Fong, and Katherine Araniello respectively, for their impactful moving image submissions.

The Shape Open, an annual call-out which invites international and UK-based artists to submit work in response to a disability focused theme ‘Disability Re-assessed’, is a showcase of multi-disciplinary works including painting, sculpture, textile, digital art and photography.

Artists and visitors filled every corner of the space at The Nunnery Gallery in Bow,London, a contemporary art space run by Bow Arts, to hear Shape Open Patron Yinka Shonibare MBE, Shape CEO Tony Heaton, and Chief Executive of Bow Arts, Marcel Baettig announce the winner for 2013.

The winner Eric Fong received first prize and a £500.00 cheque for his moving image piece called ‘Reflection’, which represents a reflection on identity and disability in the context of facial disfigurement.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, Shape Open Patron said: 'The Shape Open Exhibition provides a fantastic platform for disabled artists to show their work. Such exhibitions offer great opportunities for artists to be discovered by institutions and large audiences. Similar exhibitions have helped to contribute to the development of my own personal career'.

Eric Fong’s winning film is piece which plays with perception, and moves between abstraction and reality. What is so impactful here it that it plays with one’s own judgment and feelings of how other people might look different to one’s own self.’ 

‘We chose Katherine as runner-up because her film is funny and I really liked the sense of humour. It plays with stereo-types and the condescending behavior and presumptions towards people with disabilities.’

Eric Fong said: ‘I’m really delighted to be the winner of The Shape Open 2013, I think The Nunnery Gallery is a fantastic venue and all the works are really excellent. Like Yinka said ‘everybody here today should be a winner’. Shape is a great organisation working to improve access to the arts for disabled people, and they are doing fantastic work; I am proud to be a part of it all.’

‘My winning piece is produced in collaboration with an organisation called ‘Changing Faces’ which supports people with facial disfigurements. The work is a reflection on identity and disability in the context of facial disfigurement and the central message I hope to convey is the importance of self-acceptance, and to encourage people to accept others with facial disfigurements with a sense of equality.’

Katherine Araniello, the runner up and recipient of £150.00 for her moving image  submission ‘Pity’, based her film on a performance piece, which was a parody of charities generating income through emotive images. The soundtrack plays on the theme of ‘pity’ that is prevalent in the economics of some charities today.

Katherine Araniello said: ‘I was absolutely ecstatic to be runner-up! I am extremely pleased that there is an audience for the subversive humour that I instill in my work in relation to disability. I trust my film will have an impact on those fortunate enough to see it!’

Chief Executive of Bow Arts, Marcel Baettig said: ‘The Shape Open this year makes very powerful viewing and the quality of the work really stands out. ‘Shape’s reputation and passion in supporting disabled people in the arts is second too none and we support that 100%. As an organisation, The Nunnery Gallery comes from a history of wanting to be as inclusive as possible to all audiences, so we are delighted to continue our collaboration with Shape.’

‘The winning piece by Eric Fong was sensitively created without falling into the sentimentality trap. It was very well put together, a brilliantly powerful piece. And the second prize, Katherine Araniello’s film ‘Pity’, almost came across as a sketch; it was a really courageous piece which confronted her audience directly about their perceptions and reactions to disability. There are a lot of artists who start to address the audience, and the audience’s position within a piece. Katherine’s work does exactly this. ‘Pity’ plays with perception and draws people in, engages them and I really liked that.’

The exhibition is open for viewing until 20th October 2013 at The Nunnery Gallery.
Address: The Nunnery Gallery,181-183 Bow Rd, London, E3 2SJ
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