We’re excited to be supporting The Batsford Prize 2017 by awarding a £500 Cass Art Bursary to Jemima Hall, a talented Fine Art student from Oxford Brooked University. We caught up with Jemima to find out about the concept behind her work and what she plans to do with the prize.
Hi Jemima, congratulations on winning the Cass Art £500 Materials Prize. Do you have any ideas what you’ll do with the £500?
Thank you so much! This is the first award I have ever won so I feel incredibly lucky with the prize. My sculptures cost quite a bit of money to make, so this definitely makes up for it. I'll be saving up the rest of the prize money for my final fine art degree show work next year. Who knows what I'll be spending it on then!
Your series of photographs entered in The Batsford Prize are beautiful! Can you tell us about the concept behind them and how you went about creating the sculptures in the photos?
I used three full body plaster casts to create my sculptures. Each sculpture was made individually with soil that I dug up myself. I made fourteen soil sculptures in total which took me about three months to make! It was very physically tiring and challenging, but I couldn't have been happier with the final outcome. With these sculptures I wanted to explore the topics of life and death and our connection and relationship to and with nature. I wanted to discuss how we are a part of nature and how, just as nature, we grow and decay. It is quite overwhelming to look at my fourteen life size sculptures lying in the grass at Oxford Brookes together. The bodies seem like part of the landscape and whilst they can be seen as peaceful and silent they also hold a certain sinister feeling.
You’re currently studying Fine Art at Oxford Brookes University. What’s it like to be an art student there? Is there a big art scene in Oxford?
I can't believe I am already going into my third and final year at Brookes. I absolutely love it here! All our staff are so helpful and the university provides great facilities. We are constantly reminded and emailed about prizes, exhibitions, events and openings going on in town and further away from Oxford. There is so much great stuff to get involved in!
Who are your inspirations in your artistic practice?
Every day I am inspired by things I see and hear, both large and small, loud and quiet. From the changes in weather to massive art installations by artists such as Zhang Huan. Both Huan and the artist Ana Mendieta have inspired a lot of my work in regards to the relationship and connection between the human body and nature in their work.
Do you have any plans for your next art project? Are there any mediums you would like to try out?
I am going to have to do some brainstorming over summer! I'm taking the time at university to experiment with my art practice. Since being at Brookes I have used photography, painting, performance and sculpture in my work. There are so many possibilities! I would quite like to get into performance art again and continue to experiment with the topic concerning our relationship to nature and our body. A topic which, I believe, is forever relevant and able to be explored.