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SAP 2021 Winners

’The Sustainability Art Prize (SAP) for students has demonstrated for another consecutive year that art can be a powerful communicator of environmental, social and climate issues and that creative practices can open up collaborative spaces where sustainable solutions for all can be explored. I am humbled and honoured to have worked with such talented cohort of Undergraduate, Masters and PhD students and to be part of the development process of the wonderful works shortlisted for SAP 2021.’ 

Marina Velez (curator)


Highly Commended 


Nur Akyildiz

Nur’s  work “The Chair” draws from her childhood experiences of being in nature and building resilience through self-generated pockets of joy, both in the process of making the object of play and in contemplating it after it had been made.Nur says – “All the while I strived to adapting an unconventional approach to the process of art making and materials much like Giuseppe Penone who is associated the Arte Povera movement”. The work uses the essence of play but also the trope of the chair which is historically to transcends the object’s preoccupation with function and utility – often used historically to evoke the presence of the human figure. 


Aliz Kovacs Zoldi 

Aliz’s work speaks of globalisation and precariousness of food production as well as food mileage, food packaging and single use plastic pollution. Her arresting trilogy of photographs  speak of the branding of natural world, making use of still life painting strategies, light and chiaroscuro. 



Third Prize

Beatriz Silva

Beatriz’s work opens up a space for futuristic fabulations, where the Earth and the sun are gender neutral characters in a world with a pleasant climate, somewhere in the Aquarii Nebula. This work approaches the topic of climate change through care and emotional response, elicited aesthetically through the composition, colours and illustration style of her story-telling animation. 


Second Prize

Justin Worsley

‘A New Day’ is a wordless picture book by Justin Worsley about a form of environmental pollution that we all experience and witness on practically a daily basis, littering.

His hope is that both children and adults of all ages can connect with this wordless, slightly surreal story that ultimately has a hopeful ending.


First Prize

Sarah Strachan

Just a spoonful, 2021 

Lamenting soil degradation, this work aims to celebrate the value of soil and question the sustainability of sugar beet farming in the UK. Soil accumulates slowly like the line drawings in this installation, but it's being lost at an alarming rate. The ceramics, moulded from sugar beet, represent the ghostly but enduring impact of industrial agriculture. Sound is also an indicator of this impact; healthy soil is noisy - as just a spoonful contains more organisms than there are people on the planet - but intensively managed soil is relatively quiet. Whilst we can’t all tackle the issues of industrial agriculture; we can compost our organic waste.


Without soil we won't have food to eat or freshwater to drink. 

“It’s such an honour for Just a spoonful to be recognised by the judges of the Sustainability Art Prize, not just for me but for all the stakeholders involved in the project.  This installation is the result of a long ‘conversation’ with people, organisations and the land in an effort to better understand our complex relationship with soil” says Sarah.

“Soil really is amazing - just one teaspoon contains more living organisms than there are people on the planet” she adds. It all started at the end of 2020, when Sarah witnessed the damage caused to the land by harvesting sugar beet from a field in Cambridgeshire. 


The field remains fallow months later – still suffering the effects of compaction and waterlogging. Soil erosion isn’t just a local issue, over the past 40 years it’s estimated that Earth has lost a third of arable land and soil is currently being destroyed 10-times faster than it’s being created. It is well known that these sorts of facts and figures leave us feeling overwhelmed and do little to promote positive action.  Sarah’s exploring this through her art practice as she’s interested in how our perception affects our ecological awareness and thinking.  In this project she asks us how much we value soil. How do you refer to it? Mud, dirt? Or perhaps black gold if you’re a gardener. Without it we won’t have food to eat or fresh water to drink.

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