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Meet Antrea Tzourovits The Hari Art Prize 2022 Winner

The Hari Art Prize, in collaboration with A Space For Art is poised to become an integral part of The Hari London’s annual rolling art programme, celebrating the global roster of artistic talent attracted to London.

In 2022, from a list of over 400 applicants, a shortlist of 17 artists were chosen by an elite panel of judges overseen by Dr. Aron Harilela, CEO and Chairman of Harilela Hotels Ltd. The three finalists were then announced at a VIP award event at The Hari on 17 November 2022, including winner Antrea Tzourovits!

Read all about him below…

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born in 1987 in Serbia-Montenegro and finished my undergraduate studies in sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts in 2020. I then finished my postgraduate MFA at the Slade School of Fine Art (UCL, University of London) in 2022.

The genealogy of my work stems from my childhood, moving from Serbia to Greece during the brutal conflict in 1999. At only twelve years of age, I became a war refugee seeking asylum and education, and finally after a fifteen-year process, Greek nationality. The experience of living in a catastrophic war zone and subsequently navigating the nuances of state systems are topical subjects that have continued to influence my making today, with themes about death, fear, escapism, danger, and expectation. In my work, I employ a wide range of materials including sculpture, painting, installation, video, and music.

From a really young age, I have been working in several jobs, besides going to school, such as an air condition technician, a playground constructor, and an internal and external mural painter. I have collaborated with the UNHCR in raising awareness about the fight against racism and social discrimination in schools. From 2014 until 2020 I worked as a stringed instrument art luthier craftsman next to one of the most renowned luthiers in Greece and presented my first solo exhibition entitled APORIA at Kalfayan Galleries in Athens.

Tell us about your overall experience of The Hari Art Prize?

When I applied for the prize it was just in the period that I was preparing my degree show at Slade. It was a quite intense and stressful period. I had no idea what was going to be next and I was quite nervous about the life after my studies.

My willing was to find a way to be able to establish myself as a London based artist. When I heard about the prize through a UCL mail and when I saw the cash prize and the people who was on the judging panel, I immediately thought that this could be a great opportunity for my work to be seen in London and hopefully in Hong Kong and make my attempt to stay in London easier. Also, the opportunity for the two runners up to become the next Artists in Residence based at The Hari seemed quite tempting.

From the beginning the whole process was smooth and simple. The process of applying was easy and the communication with the team from A Space For Art was wonderful and helpful. The exhibition at The Hari Hotel was great and well curated. I really enjoyed the awards ceremony, it was truly a warm and marvelous event. The Hari Hotel team were amazing and very hospitable hosts. Also, it was great to meet some of the other artists, A Space For Art, the judges and other guests.


How did you feel winning The Hari Art Prize and what do you plan to do with the prize money?

I feel delighted and honoured to have received The Hari Art Prize among some great artists. Also, the great panel of judges, that includes some artists that I have always loved their work, makes this prize really important for me and gives me more confidence to continue working in London as a wholehearted artist.

The money will be a great help for me to keep working on my project more freely. The cost of an artist’s life in London is quite high and especially for my practice since I need a studio, a workshop and a great variety of different materials. This money will be used as an investment in the development of my practice and my projects, and will allow me to continue to live and work in London.

What is the story behind your winning piece?

The wining piece that I presented at the Hari hotel is part of a project that I presented at my degree show at Slade School of Fine Art and I am still working on. The premise of this project stems from my childhood moving from Serbia Montenegro to Greece during the conflict in 1999. The work is influenced by the impact of war and the specific events I experienced during this period.

I want to capture my own memories to convey my own story and how I honestly remember it both as a war refugee and artist working today. One such event I will try to shortly describe below.

In 1998 the world basketball championship took place in Athens, Greece. It was the first time I realised how popular this sport was in the country. At eleven years old, I was actively watching and supporting my home team at an international sports event. The Yugoslavia’s team became the champions of the tournament. It was a historic win with endless celebrations throughout the region. However, the bright occasion is scarred by the events which followed and are firmly ingrained on my mind. Just a few months later, USA and NATO launched airstrike bombings on the country. I remember the loud and scattered sounds of the war sirens, the bombers coming erratically through space and time, and the terrifying wait for, if, where and when the next bomb will drop. The experience of the basketball tournament and living in a catastrophic war zone are recorded as one combined memory which is part of my own poetic narrative.

Would you recommend The Hari Art Prize and encourage others to enter next year? If so, why?

I think from my previous answers it’s clear that for me entering was a great experience and I would definitely recommend it. Actually, I have already recommended that my friends enter next year and through this interview I would like to encourage everyone to apply for The Hari Art Prize 2023.

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