New England-born Sarah Pickstone has won the John Moores Painting Prize with her painting, "Steve Smith and the Willow." First prize is £25,000, which is Britain's most prestigious painting prize, offered every two years.
The winning painting by Sarah Pickstone is inspired from an illustration done by Stevie Smith to accompany her 1957 poem "Not Waving But Drowning." Nominated in 2004, she is the first female to win the John Moores Painting Prize since Lisa Milroy in 1989. This year, she was chosen from over 3,000 entries.
Judge Fiona Banner described the work in BBC News, titled Stevie Smith and the Willow, as "an enigmatic double portrait that grapples with the creative self".
Fiona Banner, herself a Turner Prize-nominated artist, said: "It's a representation of the poet Stevie Smith in a deranged landscape." Banner was joined on the judging panel by fellow Turner Prize-nominated artists George Shaw and Angela de la Cruz, plus BBC creative director Alan Yentob and Whitechapel Gallery director Iwona Blazwick.
"It's also a painting of one artist reflected through another, a meeting of literary and pictorial minds."
The contest is UK's best-known prestigious painting competition. Named after Sir John Moores (1896-1993) who founded it, the contest was first held in 1957. This years contest was held at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, as part of the Liverpool Biennial.