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ARU student Simona lands £3,000 art prize

Published: 19 July 2022 at 13:00

Simona Racheva

BA Fine Art student wins award with questions about truth and honesty

Simona Racheva has won this year’s £3,000 Supanee Gazeley Fine Art Prize, awarded for the best body of work exhibited at the BA Fine Art Degree Show at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU). 

Her degree show presented a series of small-scale text works that combine printmaking (letterpress) and embossing, and canvases with painted areas of text. These works explore the presence of duality in society by overlapping texts with opposite meanings. The visibility of both types of statement allows the viewer to see what was meant to be unknown and raises questions about truth and honesty. 

Simona’s work is also exhibited online, together with that of other students in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University, at ARU Present.

Joe McCullagh, Head of the Cambridge School of Art (CSA) and one of the judges said:

“The judging for this prestigious prize was an absolute pleasure yet extremely difficult due to the incredible work produced by all of our graduating Fine Art students. 

“Simona’s work really extended our understanding and questioning of who we are and our place in society by exploring ideas of duality through a series of playful yet purposeful ‘texts’. The work engaged us through a fascinating combination of multi-disciplinary methods and media. All produced in a thoughtful and creatively crafted installation.”

Describing her response to winning the prize, Simona said:

“The feeling of getting this recognition is indescribable. I am honoured to receive this year’s award and extremely grateful to my parents who made my studies in UK possible as well as to everyone who supported me throughout the years. The list of people is too long so l would like to simply say: ‘Thank you all for your support, advice and patience, thank you for everything’. 

“It was a long journey full of ups and downs that eventually led me to producing this work. I hope our visitors had a memorable experience of my installation and enjoyed the graduates’ show as a whole.”

Simona, who is 22, moved from Bulgaria in 2019 to study Fine Art at ARU in Cambridge. She now plans to continue her studies. 

The Supanee Gazeley Fine Art Prize is funded by Supanee Gazeley, an alumna of ARU having graduated in 1962.  She has held numerous art exhibitions in the UK, Thailand and Hong Kong, and became an Honorary Doctor of the University in 2007.

The prize recognises the value of the arts and the importance of nurturing new talent, and supports and encourages Fine Art students in further developing their work.  Supanee Gazeley has very generously funded the Prize for a period of 50 years, from 2010 to 2060.