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Leicestershire, UK
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1 May 2008 PR 08/56

Loughborough student to exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery

For the first time ever a portrait by a Loughborough University School of Art and Design (LUSAD) student has been selected to go on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Benjamin Cohen, a second year Fine Art student, entered his work into the gallery’s BP Portrait Award, an annual competition aimed at encouraging artists to focus upon and develop the theme of portraiture in their work.

The competition is open to everyone aged 18 and over and with a substantial first prize of £25,000 it has been the launch pad for the careers of a number of successful portrait artists. Recent winners and their commissions include Stuart Pearson Wright (2001) who painted J.K. Rowling, Catherine Goodman (2002) who painted Dame Cicely Saunders and Charlotte Harris (2003) who painted Dame Vivien Duffield.

The competition is judged on an anonymous basis from original paintings and an exhibition is then created from a selection of the entries. Benjamin’s portrait is one of the entries shortlisted for the award and will form part of the competition exhibition, appearing at the National Portrait Gallery from 12 June to 14 September 2008. The overall winner will be selected in June.

The oil on canvas work, entitled ‘John’, is 2m by 1.4m in size. It is of a Loughborough man who works in a bookshop in the town. Benjamin met him whilst out trawling the streets looking for an inspiring subject to paint.

Speaking about his selection to appear at the National Portrait Gallery, he said: “For such a young artist to be given the opportunity to exhibit in one of the most prestigious art galleries in the world is totally astonishing and, at the moment, it hasn’t really sunk in. The National Portrait Gallery have kick started my career as an artist and I wish to thank them.”

Johanna Hallsten, LUSAD’s Programme Coordinator in Fine Art added: “The Fine Art department would like to congratulate Ben Cohen on his success in being selected for the BP Portrait Award exhibition. This is a fantastic recognition that Ben is a talented painter and we expect he will go on to achieve further successes in the contemporary art world.”

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Notes to editors:

  1. For a image of Ben’s portrait please contact the Public Relations Office.

  2. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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