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Meet Barbara Nati The Hari Art Prize 2022 Runner-Up

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 runner-up Barbara Nati!

Read all about her below…

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

My work has been increasingly focusing on an issue I cannot get my head around: the hypocrisy of contemporary living. The true meaning of my message is to highlight the dramatic relationship between Nature and Man. If humans, on the one hand, have subverted the natural order by disrupting the environment with their activities, by bending nature with the destructive mindlessness of their globalised systems, on the other hand, nature itself is reclaiming its spaces and regaining its own balance, which is once again emerging as the only viable one.

Despite the apparent hopelessness, these scenarios actually reveal, behind their inescapable morality, a reconciling aspect too that consists in the everlasting regenerative power of the natural element. This enables Nature to overcome any abuse imposed by man and his apparent supremacy.

Could you tell us about your overall experience participating in The Hari Art Prize?

What I can say for certain at this stage is that everything was organised very professionally and according to schedule, and the communication from the press offices of Hari Hotel and A space for art on social media channels was very accurate. The timing was perfect for me to also ensure my presence, but then unfortunately a surgical procedure a few days before prevented me from travelling and after two weeks I still can’t get over the fact that I missed the award ceremony.

Why did you feel it was important to enter?

If I remember correctly, I read about the call for art on the website. I recall thinking straight away that it was an interesting addition with some high quality prizes up for grabs. I had worked with A space for art in the past and it was a terrific experience so for me their presence was a guarantee of quality. My work is so akin to their research that they included my work in the Future Planet exhibition currently running at MYO Victoria space until the end of February.


What is the story behind your winning piece?

The Earth’s seas produce half of the planet’s oxygen and absorb more than a third of its carbon dioxide, as well as interacting with atmospheric currents and thus the global climate. Changes that in recent decades have unfortunately led to an increase in overall volume, an increase in average temperature, pollution, and acidification of waters. Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has led to increased carbon dioxide in the waters of the oceans, resulting in a decrease in pH and the subsequent dissolution of calcium carbonate structures such as shells and mollusks, plankton, and corals.

As a consequence, entire coral reefs have died and others have suffered a setback in development; the variety of shapes and colours of these natural structures has been replaced by white, translucent, ghostly outlines. The same outcome seems to have occurred for human structures, my digital elaborations: buildings transmuted into evanescent constructions. Concrete, brick, steel, everything is corroded and dematerialised, and all that remains of human engineering works are transparent facades. Man and nature seem at first glance to share a similar curse, but on closer reflection very different feelings for the two fates emerge.

What are your thoughts on the other pieces shortlisted?

As a lover of three-dimensional art and a collector myself, I must say that I was not surprised to see that sculpture took the overall prize. Many would argue that my art is actually very three-dimensional, yet I find that the two dimensions of a photographic print are not as interactive as a sculptural work. In the back corner of my mind I think that someday I will find a way to develop my work in a third dimension. Perhaps the right technology has yet to be discovered.

Antrea’s work is intriguing; I think his work is the perfect balance between the playfulness of mundane objects and the skilful execution that comes from his diverse professional background. What resonates most with me in Woo Jin’s work is the use of colour and the fundamental relationship that humans have with the natural environment at the heart of her work.


Are you looking forward to becoming an ‘Artist in Residence’ at The Hari?

I can’t wait to get started. It’s a completely different context than the suburban one in which I have carried out my last two residencies (in southern Sweden in 2013 and in Half Moon Bay, California in 2022). I have not lived in central London for eight years now and, however fast, frequent commuting can be an economic burden as well as a hassle because of the restrictions of the last couple of years. So spending as long as it takes to make the most of all the amenities the city has to offer may not be as easy as it sounds.

As for my next pieces I have many ideas running through my head out of which I could possibly select the next project. However, I would like to work toward one or two specific pieces exclusively tailored to the residency program.

Are there any upcoming projects you want to talk to us about?

This is an eventful time for me indeed. At the moment I am finishing the series on ocean acidification and a piece of the series will go on display at the royal Cambrian academy of art. At the beginning of the new year, as Photography /Digital Art Category Winner of the VAO22 I will participate in the gallery exhibition and at the end of January two of my works will become part of a collection exhibited at King Edward VII’s Hospital in a Contemporary art in hospitals’ initiative in partnership with Zimmer Stuart Gallery.

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

I would absolutely encourage artists to enter the Prize. To begin with, the star jury is definitely a great reason to participate. It’s not easy to find an award where so many influential people in the art world are on the panel. Even in case you are not selected, it is still significant to have your work submitted for their attention. Besides, the award is in its first year and is bound to grow in terms of scale and quality in the editions to come.

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