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Calais refugee jungle inspires winner of MS Amlin Continuity Prize

A stark and beautiful painting of a makeshift church in the Calais refugee camp has won Marguerite Horner the MS Amlin Continuity Prize organised by National Open Art.

Her painting was chosen from almost 1,000 entries by a distinguished panel of judges who make their decision without knowing the name of the artist.

It’s one of the guiding principles of National Open Art, one of the UK's leading art competitions, open to amateur and professional artists in the UK and Ireland.

New for this year was the MS Amlin prize for artistic responses to the theme of ‘Continuity in an uncertain world’ a topic at the heart of our business

The painting, Church, was Inspired by the artist’s visit to the first Calais Refugee Jungle in 2014 and is part of a show called ‘Keep Me Safe’.

MS Amlin’s Global Director Communications, Adrian Britten said of the painting: “As an insurer, our role is to provide continuity when people and businesses are challenged in this uncertain world and Marguerite’s painting is an emotive, thought provoking response to this.

“I congratulate Marguerite and with over 950 submissions, all those who made it to the shortlist should be celebrated for the quality of their contributions to our cultural lives.

“The competition celebrates artistic excellence and being open and inclusive gives MS Amlin a significant and meaningful way of supporting an important part of the cultural life of the UK.”

Marguerite says her paintings “…aim to investigate, among other things, notions of transience, intimacy, loss and hope”.

And in the case of Church she says: “Despite the lack of material comforts in the camp, there was a human solidarity that was still there, giving meaning to their situation.

“And the church, made out of simple things such as plastic and wood, was the space that brought people together. Church is a record of that time – a symbol of hope and faith when people’s lives were falling apart.”

As well as winning £5000 the winning artwork work was exhibited at the 21st National Open Art Exhibition at the Oxo Tower’s Bargehouse, London in November.

Now in its 21st year, the National Open Art competition (NOA) is widely recognised as the UK’s premier open art competition that exists to nurture emerging and established artists (professional and amateur) based in the UK and Ireland.

The winning artwork for the MS Amlin Continuity Prize was decided on by an industry panel including: Kate Packenham, Excecutive Producer, Donmar Warehouse; Steve Dinneen, Lifestyle Editor, City AM; Brittany Golob, Editor, Transform Magazine and Andrea Harari-Dickson, Director, Jagged Art Gallery London.


Watch NOA 2017 exhibition and MS Amlin's Continuity Prize winners. 

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