The Baghdad-born, London-based artist Mohammed Sami has been awarded the Hottinger Prize for Excellence for his work in this year’s FBA Futures exhibition at Mall Galleries, London.

His winning painting, Unedited Still Life (2018), has been purchased by the wealth management company Hottinger for its art collection.

The annual open exhibition features work by recent art graduates with a focus on new contemporary figurative painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking. This year’s show includes nearly 70 works by 42 artists who graduated from UK art schools in 2018.

Sami, whose work was also featured in the 2018 New Contemporaries exhibition, last year gained an MA from Goldsmiths having graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Ulster University, Belfast in 2016.

The painter also studied at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad. He left Iraq in 2007 having sought asylum in Sweden due to fears for his life after he was targeted by extremists.

Sami’s artist’s statement reads: “The traumatic aftershocks of the Iraq wars continue to surface as subconscious echoes within the materiality of his paintings.”

The runner-up prize was awarded to fellow painter Tomi Olopade, a graduate of Leeds Arts University. He was chosen for two works from his Good Hair series and will be commissioned to create a new work for the Hottinger collection.

Born in London to Nigerian parents, Olopade’s paintings explore black experience, with his work in the FBA Futures show focusing on the cultural importance of hair.

The Hottinger Prize was first awarded in 2018 when it was won by Glasgow School of Art graduate Hannah Mooney.

FBA Futures is an annual exhibition launched by Mall Galleries / Federation of British Artists in 2012. The current exhibition continues at Mall Galleries until 19 January 2019.

1. Mohammed Sami, Unedited Still Life, 2018. Courtesy: the artist and FBA Futures
2. Mohammed Sami receives the Hottinger Award for Excellence from Alastair Hunter, Executive Director of Hottinger Group. Photo: FBA Futures
3. Tomi Olopade, Austin’s Barbers II, 2018. Courtesy: the artist and FBA Futures

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