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Fermin Garcia Villaescusa wins top prize in International Art Competition

Pic by Eyleen Gomez

Spanish artist Fermin Garcia Villaescusa has won the overall prize in the 49th Gibraltar International Art Exhibition with his piece ‘Ventana Al Patio’.

The announcement was made at the launch in the Gustavo Bacarisas Gallery, Casemates, on Tuesday evening.

When his name was called out, Mr Garcia Villaescusa was beaming as he took his prize, clearly delighted he had won.

“I am very emotional,” he told the Chronicle.

“I thought I might be second or third, but never first.”

A total of 128 works are on display in the vaults of the gallery from both local and international artists.

The exhibition was once again organised by Gibraltar Cultural Services, on behalf of the Ministry of Culture, and was officially opened by the Minister for Culture, Dr John Cortes.

Also present was the adjudicator, Royal Academician Katherine Jones.

Ms Jones noted that there could have been as many as five pieces that could have won, such was the calibre of some of the entries.

Dr Cortes said that, since the pandemic, there is a new energy for art in Gibraltar, a “type of renaissance,” he said while also noting that this was not just in the visual arts.

“From the exhibition that we have done recently in London, which was hugely successful, you will have heard that we are calling for contributions to the one we are going to have in Tangier. But also increasingly, we are influencing others,” he said.

“And it is not just Cultural Services or the Ministry of Culture who are working in the arts, we have other people organising exhibitions. We, in fact, have a meeting tomorrow with somebody who is going to be developing a private art gallery, and we hope to work very closely with them.”

“So, this renaissance of culture goes beyond what the public service does. And that is what it is about, to get right into the core of our community and encourage people to do that.”

Winning the second prize, the Jacobo Azagury Prize, was Sebastian Rodriquez with ‘Jimera De Libar Plein Air.’

In third place, winning the Leni Mifsud Prize, was Gavin Keith Garcia with his piece ‘Mother and Child (The Embrace).’

Bathsheba Peralta won the Best Gibraltar Theme, the Rudesindo Mannia Prize, with her painting ‘Rosia.’

And winning the Mario Finlayson Prize for Best Young Artist was Naomi Duarte with ‘Dabuti, 92’.

Highly Commended certificates were presented to eight artists: Jane Langdon for ‘Sky Ablaze Over The Rock;’ Orsolya Demetrovics for ‘Reflections;’ Naomi Martinez for ‘A Shrimp Cracker;’ Monica Popham for ‘Winter Sun;’ Julian Osborne for ‘Piccadilly;’ Shannen Vinent for ‘Caleta Palace Hotel 1964-2022’; Ronald Gingell for ‘Life Like A Candle In The Wind’ and Francisco Alarcon for ‘La Negra Flor’.

The exhibition is open to the public until Saturday, November 12 from 10.30am to 6.30pm on weekdays and 10.30am to 1.30pm on Saturdays. Entry is free.

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