Aesthetica Art Prize:
Creativity On Screen

Video content is everywhere; it’s a rolling form of communication. Here, we highlight five video artists to know, including 2023 Prize Winner Larry Achiampong. Our list presents films that explore class, gender, cross-cultural identity, our relationship with nature and the boundaries between the real and virtual.

Ada Cotton & Etienne Joseph, 2023

Jeffrey Lennon is the founder of African Street Style London and a cultural programmer. Ada Cotton is a Franco-Rwandese writer and visual artist interested in experimental storytelling. Etienne Joseph is the founder of Decolonising the Archive (DTA), an organisation that explores African-centred archival methodologies. The trio’s shared interest in the representation of the African diaspora produced Progress (1968), an immersive visual experience invoking notions of time, struggle and spirituality. The film considers African futures and precolonial pasts. | @adacotton | @de_archive

Larry Achiampong, 2023

Larry Achiampong is a BAFTA longlisted (2023) and Jarman Award (2021) nominated artist, filmmaker and musician. His projects employ archival material, film, live performance and still imagery to explore ideas surrounding class, gender, cross-cultural and digital identity. Achiampong’s work examines his communal and personal heritage – in particular, the intersection between pop culture and the residues of colonialism. These investigations survey constructions of “the self” through audible and visual materials, offering multiple perspectives that reveal the inequalities in society. | @larryachiampong

Zillah Bowes, 2022

Allowed is a film that brings together three-dimensional photographic animations of urban growth. Plants and flowers were allowed to grow wild during lockdown, with green spaces uncut, inviting new pollinators and wildlife. Following a lyrical spoken journey through the city, Allowed re-examines our relationship with metropolitan plant life in the context of the climate crisis. Zillah Bowes’ work frequently explores the relationship between the individual and the natural environment. This includes the moonlight series Green Dark, which examines human and non-human life. | @zillahbowes

Sophie Dixon, 2022

Sophie Dixon is a visual artist, working across film, 3D technologies and installation. Her projects consider the themes of memory, history, and the boundaries between the real and virtual. In 1838, Grace Darling became one of the greatest female celebrities of the Victorian era. After rescuing survivors from the wreck of the SS Forfarshire, her life as a lighthouse keeper’s daughter was changed forever. Inspired by various accounts, Grace is an exploration of Darling’s life and her impact. The film was commissioned by The RNLI Grace Darling Museum, Arts & Heritage, and Arts Council England. | @memoryofloci

Elise Guillaume, 2021

Elise Guillaume is deeply concerned with the current state of the environment. Through her practice, she explores our relationship with organic matter. Borderline is a reflection of humankind’s dependency on nature. It speaks of abandonment and loneliness as a consequence of physical or mental illness. The piece is a reminder of our vulnerable bodies and constant need for connection. By engaging with this work, viewers can evaluate the co-dependency of these entities. | @elise__guillaume

The Aesthetica Art Prize is open for entries. Submit your work to win £10,000, exhibition and more.

Image credits:

1. Larry Achiampong, Still from Wayfinder, (2022). Single-channel 4K colour film. Courtesy the artist and Copperfield London.

2. Still from Progress (1968) (detail), (2019). Single-channel digital video. 23 min. 19 sec.
Artists: Ada Cotton, Etienne Joseph. Creative Producers: Jeff rey Lennon, Etienne Joseph.

3. Larry Achiampong, Still from Wayfinder, (2022). Single-channel 4K colour film. 83 min. Courtesy the artist and Copperfield London.

4. Zillah Bowes, Still from Allowed (2021). 35 mm single channel moving image. 3 min. 24 sec.

5. Sophie Dixon, Still from Grace (2021). Single channel moving image, 10 min.

6. Still from Borderline, (2020). Sony A7iii, Red camera and Zoom recorder. Duration: 04:19.