Wildlife Artist of the Year Awards: Kent student wins prize

Photo by: David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

A University of Kent student has won a category at the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2019.

Held in the Mall Galleries, London on May 29 to June 2, the exhibition showcased 150 pieces of work over a range of different art mediums, which organisers say aim to bring attention to nature’s beauty and raise funds to preserve the environment.

All of the artwork was up for sale, and half of all proceeds went directly to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.

Sofiya Shukhova, winner of the ‘Human Impact’ award, is currently undertaking an undergraduate degree in Conservation and International Wildlife Trade at Kent. Beyond her education, her artistic expression stems from the same interest in the preservation and protection of wildlife.

The Russian student sparked up public discussion with online, collective, and solo exhibitions in a number of different countries, starting as early as 2014 and working on new projects up to the present date.

Working in either sketch form, using watercolour or acrylic paints, or linocut printmaking, she is able to bring her passion to life in the inspiring collection of artwork she has amounted.

The piece displayed by Shukhova focuses on the subject of ‘Shark Fins’. The inspiration behind this particular piece of work germinates from Shukhova’s experiences living and working in Singapore, a vibrant, multicultural place where contemporary and tradition meet in an exchange of values.

“Shark fins are a traditional part of Chinese cuisine, and their consumption is a status symbol,” Sofiya remarks.

“With its relatively high income compared to other countries in the region, Singapore is among the biggest consumers of shark fins.”

Shukhova testifies the problems high demands for shark fins cause to the stability of the endangered species’ population. She stresses the fact that it “undermines ocean health” as a whole.

When asked about what motivated her to finish and showcase the piece, she explains that she wants to “urge everyone to learn more about issues surrounding the shark fin and meat industry, and to think about how simple daily actions can be adjusted to help preserve biodiversity for future generations”.

‘Shark Fins’ were realised by Shukhova using the linocut printmaking technique, which involves carving linoleum, applying paint on the surface and impressing the image on a piece of paper.

With its pressing subject matter on her mind, Shukhova says that she “spent more time reflecting on the subject and design, rather than actually making [the ‘Shark Fins’ linocut].’ On her Facebook page, she provides a video of the artistic process: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1193274904163236

When asked about future projects, Shukhova said that she was in the process of planning her third solo exhibition in her native city of Moscow. She was also happy to announce that another piece of her artwork will be touring the UK as a part of the Sketch for Survival Invitational Collection in autumn 2019.

After completing her studies in the UK, Shukhova hopes to set up workshops for both children and adults that are interested in creative expression and learning about how to be proactive in helping the environment.

For more information on Sofiya, visit:

Her Website: https://www.shukhova.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shukhova.art/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/SOFIYA.SHUKHOVA/

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