Ashanti Hare BA Hons Fine Art

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Fine Art graduate Ashanti Hare wins Platform Graduate Award 2022

Emerging artist award presented to Arts University Plymouth graduate Ashanti Hare by guest judge, artist Larry Achiampong

CVAN South East (Contemporary Visual Arts Network South East) and its partners have announced the winner of the Platform Graduate Award 2022. Selected from six finalists, Fine Art graduate Ashanti Hare was chosen for their show at MIRROR in Arts University Plymouth.

Ashanti Hare, who graduated with a First Class Honours in 2022, was selected by a panel of judges, including guest artist Larry Achiampong, to receive a £2,000 bursary and 12 months of mentoring support, with five runners up receiving a bursary of £200.

Celebrating its tenth year in 2022, the award has extended its reach into the South West region, in association with CVAN South East’s sister network VASW (Visual Arts South West). MIRROR at Arts University Plymouth joins Aspex Portsmouth as the second South West venue partner. This year, the six partner venues, including MK Gallery in Milton Keynes, Modern Art Oxford, Phoenix Art Space in Brighton and Turner Contemporary in Margate, showed 37 artists, graduating from 19 participating universities.

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Ashanti explores the duality of life as both a human being and spiritual entity. Combining digital manipulation, folk craftsmanship and writing, Hare often explores the boundaries between cultural identity and spiritual entity through sensory experiences that include tactility, scent and moving image. Their ongoing research is motivated by underlying references to pop culture, witchcraft, literature and music.

Ashanti Hare said, “I’m so grateful and happy to receive this award and to be working with CVAN over the next year. I’m also excited to be able to really focus on researching and developing a ceremonial costume and performance film around grounding and rituals while continuing my investigations into hidden histories."

At the 2022 Summer Shows, Ashanti was announced as the winner of the upcoming KARST Graduate Residency, which grants Ashanti a six-month art residency at KARST studios, shared with a selected Bath Spa University graduate, allowing both artists to support each other's development and enrich their professional practice.

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Ashanti receiving their KARST Graduate Residency award from Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Fieldsend-Danks at the 2022 Summer Shows

Professor Stephen Felmingham, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at Arts University Plymouth said: “Support for our creative graduates as they begin their careers is a huge priority for Arts University Plymouth. The Platform Graduate Award is a crucial part of this and we are very proud to have won this year with Ashanti’s remarkable work. Congratulations are also due to the other shortlisted graduate artists from Arts University Plymouth and from the University of Plymouth who took part in the exhibition in August, without whom the Award would not have been possible.”

“It has been a year of successive wins for us, from the award of University title in March, followed by the success as WhatUni’s best Small Specialist Provider and the National Student Survey putting us at the top of our sector for student satisfaction. Even taking into account our 166 year history, this has been a year to be proud of, but it is with even greater pleasure that we acknowledge the Platform Graduate Award here, founded on an individual student’s success, to a graduate who represents the very best in their field and who exemplifies the excellence of the UK’s newest Arts University.”

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Work by Ashanti Hare

Larry Achiampong, artist and guest judge, said, “It was an honour to be invited to this panel, to be witness to the early stages of what will surely be exciting journeys for the graduates. This kind of award is very important even at this stage, not just because of the obvious help that the funds could provide in the creation of a new work or helping with the cost of living, but a gesture that tells the artist they are doing something special.”

Oliver Sumner, Manager of CVAN South East, said: “We are thrilled that the Platform Graduate Award 2022 has gone to Ashanti Hare. A thoroughly deserving recipient in the tenth year of the award, they impressed the panel with the originality, maturity and ambition of their practice. As we mark the first decade, it feels more urgent than ever that we continue to support and celebrate the most promising emerging artists graduating from our partner universities.”

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Work by Ashanti Hare

2022 marked the first year that universities and institutions from the South West have participated in the prestigious Platform Graduate Award. In August, eight artists who had graduated from Arts University Plymouth and University of Plymouth in the past 12 months were selected for the city’s inaugural Platform Graduate Award and exhibition, held in Arts University Plymouth.

From Arts University Plymouth, BA (Hons) Fine Art graduates Ashanti Hare, Liam Brooks and Stella Olivier featured in the exhibition, alongside BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking graduates Sue Bown, Karmin O'Brien and Jo Haskins. From the University of Plymouth, BA (Hons) Fine Art graduates Hayley Barker and Emma Davis featured.

Platform focuses on artists in the first year after graduation; a critical time when the loss of the university support structure and financial pressures can test an artist’s dedication to their practice. For the participating galleries, this is a way to keep in touch with the most promising emerging practice, and with Higher Education institutions. More broadly, the scheme aims to stimulate artist networks outside of London and encourage artists to stay within their regions. In 2021 the Award was won by Ainoa Burgos Gonzalez, a graduate of the University of Brighton, who was nominated by Phoenix Art Space in Brighton.