MA student wins national art prize for painting on display at Royal Academy of Arts' Summer Exhibition

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

A University of Salford student has spoken of her ‘hysterical happiness’ after her painting won a prestigious national art prize and is now being showcased at the Royal Academy of Arts’ Summer Exhibition.

Olga Mun, a MA Contemporary Fine Art student, won the £10,000 AXA Art Prize UK earlier this summer for her figurative piece ‘Impossible Painting.’

The painting, which encapsulates a variety of different concepts such as ‘religion, science and the emergence of artificial intelligence’ is on display at the annual exhibition in Piccadilly, London until Sunday 20 August within Gallery I.

Olga said: “I was hysterically happy but also in shock when I heard the news that I had won the prize. I just couldn’t believe it!

“Going to see it at the Royal Academy was a really terrific experience that has really grown my confidence and started to make me feel more ambitious about my work and how I build my career.”

On the painting, Olga said: “There are various different emotions and concepts within the painting. Behind it is a very strong political message but it is also the voice of a woman coming forth and there are messages about religion, science and artificial intelligence within it. I think everyone will see it differently.”

The painting was inspired by the work of British-Portuguese visualist Paula Rego and South African expressionist Albert Adams. The title was inspired by the book ‘Japanese Zen Buddhism and the Impossible Painting’ by Yukio Lippit.

Olga is a BA Fine Art graduate, originally from Vladivostok in Russia, and has also lived in Iran and Korea, working in the latter for some time.

She added: “The door is open for me now to build my career as a painter. I am so grateful to the University of Salford for giving me the opportunity to be the artist I am today.”

Brendan Fletcher, Programme Leader for Fine Art at the University of Salford, said: “Olga is a terrific student with an intuitive approach to her painting practice. Her work is ambitious, joyous and flamboyant.

“The Fine Art and MA Contemporary Fine Art programme are thrilled with her success. We hope this provides a crucial stepping stone for her burgeoning career.”

The Impossible Painting by Olga Mun

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