Teresa Kirby Smith Wins $10,000 Charman Prize

October 11, 2013

Patron of the Charman Prize Mr. John Charman announced Teresa Kirby Smith as this year’s $10,000 Charman Prize Winner at the opening reception today [Oct 11] at the Masterworks Museum.

Mr. Charman stated, “In our sixth year of the Charman Prize, my appreciation for Bermuda’s artistic talent is even more heightened. The quality of this year’s entries is extraordinary.

“In our wonderfully creative community it is vital to have an exhibition that can draw from all our senses. The Charman Prize exemplifies Masterworks’ vision, as these artists dynamically continue to create Bermuda’s visual history.”

Competing with 103 entrants, Ms. Kirby Smith’s entry, a gelatin silver photograph and ink jet digital photograph piece entitled “Analog Gombey Goes Digital” uses the photographic medium to represent a Gombey.

The piece was chosen for being an outstanding example of the competition’s four judging criteria; Design and Composition – fine use of the principles and elements of design and composition; Use of Material —technical mastery and skill in a chosen medium; Distinctive and Convincing Style—a highly developed quality of creativity and originality; and Source of Inspiration—a clear intent and vision.


The 2013 judges were Ron Rizzi, Painting Faculty, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Robert Cozzolino, Senior Curator and Curator of Modern Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Laszlo Cser, Master Conservator, Toronto.

The judges released a statement on the piece: “We were unanimous in our selection of Teresa Kirby Smith’s Analog Gombey Goes Digital for the Charman Prize. The presentation was clear, the craftsmanship high, and the image full of meaning that related it to Bermuda and the world beyond.

“There is a lot of photography in the exhibition this year but Ms. Smith’s attention to detail and care for the printed image impressed us very much. But beyond that we found her treatment of the subject — Gombey — to be without parallel in the exhibition.

“It is a wonderful merging of style, the effects of her chosen medium, and personal connection to Bermudian culture. It is natural that the Gombey figure would play a critical role in this exhibition on ‘Art in Bermuda — Bermuda in Art’. Ms. Smith’s interpretation stood out because of the complex and unexpected interpretations we all found in it.

“Pairing two images done with two different approaches to photography (old and new) suggested both the persistence of the cultural tradition that binds together different aspects of Bermudian life. It suggests that with new developments in technology, changes in the cultural fabric of the island, that the Gombey tradition will grow with it and remain central, even retain some of its mystery.

“It also suggested through the form — figures out of focus, seen from a veiled distance, or in tremulous motion, the Gombey as a shaman, as a mystical and powerful figure, as though an intangible spirit of Bermuda.”

Creative Director and Founder Tom Butterfield said, “We are delighted by the judge’s choice of this “Analog Gombey Goes Digital.” It is a very clever usage of the photographic medium both past and present. This artwork has at least two draws, the first being the delightful idea of painting with light, and the second is her use of the Gombey as an iconic Bermudian figure.”

The artistic statement submitted by Teresa Kirby Smith along with the “Analog Gombey Goes Digital” reads “I took photos with a brownie box camera as a little girl. Later I learned to develop film and print the images. Photography as an art form is no longer young, but it remains vigorous and relevant because it’s never stopped evolving.”

“This unique artwork exemplifies the iconic imagery in Bermuda; the muse of the island and its heritage is to no end, and through the Charman Prize everyone can have a voice”, a spokesperson said. “It is building a community, and in doing so giving voice to so many people.”

This year’s new prize is the Masterworks Collection Prize, which was chosen and purchased by the Masterworks Collections Committee to remain in the Bermudiana Collection. The winner of this award is:

  • Sharon Wilson
  • “Untitled”
  • Encaustic on birch ply

“The collections committee decided to unanimously award the Masterworks Collections Prize to artist Sharon Wilson. The stunning artwork will enrich the Bermudiana collection through both its subject and its beautiful composition. The artist has expressed a clear point of view and has mastered the use of materials.”

Four prizes of $2,500 were also awarded for artworks that were outstanding examples of each of the four criteria [judge’s comment in italics]:

Prize for Design and composition:

  • Vaughan Evans
  • “Howard’s Cycle Yard”
  • Indian ink on paper

“This drawing, depicting the humble and ubiquitous motorbike that buzzes with abandon around the island, is a technical tour-de-force. Composed using only India ink, Mr. Evans performed great control over the tones of this evasive medium and managed to vary his line enough to suggest volume, texture, and space.

“Although he has depicted discarded and used bikes, they seem to rev, twitch, vibrate with energy, as though ready to ride again. The entire paper is used right to the edges and the forms, though complex and accumulative, are clear and distinct.”

Prize for Use of Materials:

  • Sharon Wilson
  • “Untitled”
  • Encaustic on birch ply

“Of the many fine paintings and among the work that focused on a new generation of Bermudians, Sharon Wilson’s beautifully composed, sensual encaustic painting stood out. The combination of encaustic – a wax-based medium – layered upon its birch panel connected this modest anonymous profile portrait to an ancient tradition of such painting.

“Wilson’s unexpected viewpoint and the understated palette pulled us in to really scrutinize the brushwork and modeling of fabric, flesh, and background. There is a tactility in the painting that made it stand out and hold the judges’ attention.”

Prize for Distinctive and Convincing Style:

  • Jüliz Ritchie
  • “12 Red Bottles”
  • Original cyanotype print

“This print riveted the judges’ attention and impressed them with its craft, originality of presentation, and the rhythm of its imagery. Using the simple image of a bottle represented twelve times, all but one half-filled with red liquid, suggested immediately a narrative sequence.

“The addition of text, each in a different language, enhanced the serial imagery and strengthened its relationship to a narrative. Its charm is that it suggests but does not tell; there is an open-ended quality to the piece that allows the viewer to bring his or her own experience to it.”

Prize for Source of Inspiration:

  • Dany Pen
  • “Formalities”
  • Photograph on aluminum

“There were many artists in the exhibition this year that took the Gombey figure or broader references to Gombey culture as their source of inspiration. Formalities stood out for its startling superimposition of colorful headdresses on a black and white photograph of schoolchildren.

“The judges liked the blend of nostalgia, suggestion of the persistence of culture among Bermudian youth, and the subversive possibility that this is a mixed gender or all female class.”

12 honorable-mention prizes of $100 were also awarded to the artists that embodied strong elements of each of the four criteria:

  • Distinctive and Convincing Style – Samantha Lee Botelho, Zoe Dyson, Janet Wingate
  • Use of Material – Frank Dublin, Carol Gracie, Scott King
  • Design and Composition – Jacqueline Alma, Antoine Hunt, Simon Moore
  • Source of Inspiration – James Cooper, Alice Coutet, Rhona Emmerson

“The Charman Prize is a community art prize competition at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, which exhibits artwork inspired by Bermuda and honors and supports Bermuda artists in the creation of their artwork”, the spokesperson said.

“By celebrating a wide array of artwork from Bermuda’s artistic community, the Charman Prize encourages visual artists of all abilities, working in all techniques and mediums to exhibit and share their works as members of the community.

“The Charman Prize aspires to support and inspire the artists towards excellence in their medium and to further artistic accomplishments.”

For more information on The Charman Prize competition contact the Museum on 299-4000.

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Comments (34)

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  1. sage says:

    Are these people for real?Are those the winning “artworks” above?Doesn,t fit the criteria in my opinion.

    • Mike Hind says:

      I can’t wait to hear about the competition you are holding!

  2. actually... says:

    they seem to be pretty consistent in recent years, with very loose & liberal interpretations of ‘artwork’ seeming to be the calling card of the Charman folk. It’s as if they seek the most obscure form of art as a winner in order to create discussion and make you wonder what they see… wait, I think they’ve just been found out lol

  3. MR says:

    Is there any other BDAn cultural reference other than the gombeys that can win this top award? This is the third gombey piece of art to receive this award.

    Great piece of art but how boring of the judges.

    • MR says:

      The processes of creating a piece of art and somehow weaving “Bermuda in Art: Art in Bermuda” is one thing and it should be taken into account which obviously it was and I actually do like the winning piece a lot but I think the question that has to be asked is are these judges shown the range and breadth of Bermudian culture in order for them to make an informed choice for a winner? Bermudian culture is not just relegated to Gombeys (maybe that Tourism marketing dollar is well spent after all).

      The other question is are local artists (for this event especially) really informed themselves about Bermudian culture? I saw a few other Gombey pieces (Dany Pen’s was great. An interesting twist on the Gombey story).

      Ah who’s cares anyway. It’s art.

  4. My Kind says:

    Its a bit like BELCO winning ‘best power station’ or Mike Hind winning ‘best mini mando uke banjo thingy’.

    Even HSBC winning best bank seems to be a bit suspect. I mean who else is there?

    What next? Graeme Outerbridge winning best Hamilton Mayor of 2014? Nightmare perhaps.

    • Mike Hind says:

      That’s not getting tiresome at all…

      • My Kind says:

        As self obseesed as usual Mike eh?

        • Mike Hind says:

          I’m pretty sure it’s not ME that’s obsessed.

          • My Kind says:

            Self obsessed people never do Mike.

            • Mike Hind says:

              Says the guy who constantly references me and changed his name to sound like mine.

              Yeah. It’s ME that’s obsessed… for pointing out that the ‘best mini mando uke banjo thingy’ thing is getting tiresome.

              How dare I respond to someone talking about me. How self-obsessed can I be?

              Not sure what the problem is, but you’re losing it.

              • My Kind says:

                Only one of us is losing it and it ain’t me. I feel sorry for you. You will peak too soon if you don’t slow down. We all need attention yes, but you are OTT. We really don’t need to know absolutely everything you are doing all day long and how ‘lucky’ you are to be doing this for a living. YOU GOT A COUPLE OF GIGS – so what.

                The truth is you work in your Dad’s shop and hang out on Front Street all day talking to anyone who will listen.

                Get your ego in check before it explodes. Stop acting like a petulant child.

  5. terry says:

    Go away troll and stop baiting.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Shouldn’t you be off working on tomorrow’s hangover, Rummy?
      Let the sane people talk.

      • terry says:

        Says the man who has a problem with drink.
        Go away troll and stop baiting.
        Get a life. All your comments are made to induce and provoke dialogue; but you don’t get much.
        Now go back to BIAW………………
        Oh that’s right. You don’t post there anymore Uncle Elvis.

        • Mike Hind says:

          Shhh shhh shhh…

          I know you’re lonely. Go find a friend, Rummy.

      • terry says:

        Your sane?
        Too much City Hall.
        I need a rum.

  6. terry says:

    I know there is a time laps in posts but Bernews please do me a favor.
    Anytime I respond to Mike Hind please do not post my comments anymore.
    The others will take care of this troll as can be seen by their prior posts.
    Thanks in advance and only allow me to comment on the subject ( which I have in the past.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Or, you could just stop trying to troll me. That could work, too.
      Not sure why it’s anyone else’s responsibility to curb your behaviour.

      How about you be a grown up and just stop posting to me and, as you claim you have done, but all evidence points to the opposite, only comment on the topic?

      Let’s see if you can do that.

  7. sage says:

    Would either of these blurry photos hold anyone’s interest further than a passing glance in regular circumstances?Do these photos really show fine use of the principles and elements of design and composition,technical mastery and skill in a chosen medium,a highly developed quality of creativity and originality and clear intent and vision?Again not in my opinion.Since i don’t have money to give away I realize my opinion holds little weight in many peoples eyes but I hope some can appreciate unbiased honest criticism.

  8. Micro says:

    Looks like garbage to me… is there somewhere we can view other entrants, if this is the winning entry? I can’t imagine it would be worth it to actually go visit the exhibit.

    • hard at work says:

      @ Micro. You can visit the Masterworks Gallery any day of the week and see the entire exhibit of 103 entrants. Do not judge the whole show based on what the judges decided was their favorite. As always, I disagree with their choice, but the show itself is a great display of the variety of artistic talent in Bermuda. In the end, it really shouldn’t matter what the judges choose as their favorite. Go and see for yourself. Vote for your favorite for the “people’s choice” award. Heck, if you can afford it, buy your favorite!

    • Between de lines says:

      Don’t you know ‘garbage’ is all the new rage now? LOL

  9. Mike Hind says:

    You’re basing your opinion on whether these should have won based on ONLY the pictures here?


  10. Former Union Member says:

    I think if you went to see the exhibit you would be surprised by the depth of talent on the Island. Most of the artists there got a great deal of joy and satisfaction just creating their entries. Thank you to John Charman and Masterworks for allowing them to show them to a wider range of people. The prizes are secondary at best to what is happening with this contest.

  11. Nicky Gurret says:

    I think the depth and breadth of the Charman Prize, Masterworks Exhibit is wonderful. I am sure those that venture to visit the exhibit will be astonished by its variety. I too thank Masterworks and Mr Charman for giving Bermuda’s artist the challenge and opportunity every year to exhibit their art with the prospect of receiving a prize and recognition and long may this opportunity for artist continue. Well done Masterworks and Mr Charman.
    Having said that I too agree that at times the judges may be off mark particularly as this year the title was “Art in Bermuda; Bermuda in Art”. I think next year the title should be the Bermuda Gombey so that no one is in doubt of what subject matter the judges are looking for.

  12. sage says:

    The judges comments took me back to a 20/20 episode where they told some 2 yr old’s to make a mess on several large canvases which were framed and hung in a top art gallery for some highly esteemed art “critics” to comment on.Oh did they spread it on thick .What I believe some people will be surprised and astonished at is how these photos beat out 102 other entrants just as I believe the winner wonders how it happened herself.I have started my Gombey pieces for next year already.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      LOL , that struck a chord.
      Many years ago on Murphy Brown (remember that sitcom ?) there was an episode where her handyman (remember him ? ) was asked to participate in an upcoming prestigious art show.

      On the day of the opening a brigade of esteemed art critics went to the wrong address and entered a large empty apartment.
      Within minutes they were declaring the empty space with only light fixtures a mind boggling display of creative thinking and artistry done by a true master .

    • Mike Hind says:

      Lambasting and insulting people who are supporting the arts in Bermuda because you disagree with their choice.

      That’s a fantastic idea. Well done. That’s gonna help.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        In my case I was just recounting a funny sit-com moment , not lambasting anyone .
        I respect and admire your desire to defend those who participated in this show and assume you weren’t directing your comment at me.

        Art is a strange thing though , and the Murphy Brown episode I brought up demonstrates the huge gulf between those who get it and those who don’t.

      • sage says:

        It’s called constructive criticism fool and it is supposed to inspire positive change.I realize it is a strange idea for people who prefer to placate in public.

        • Mike Hind says:

          And now you respond with more insults.


          Even more helpful.

          “Constructive criticism” would entail ACTUALLY contributing a way forward… something to “inspire positive change”.
          What you did was whine that you didn’t like the photographs and stamped your feet because you – who have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with judging this competition – for some reason, think you should get a say in SOMEONE ELSE’S competition.
          Constructive criticism would be to make suggestions on how to make it better, not scream and shout like a child because you aren’t getting your way… in something you have absolutely no say in.

          How’s that for placation?

          • sage says:

            Mike you should read my comments again because I never lambasted or insulted the judges but when you said you couldn’t wait for my competition,you were suggesting that since I don’t have my own competition I can’t disagree with the outcome.I’m not insulted. I certainly don’t expect to have an effect on a contest that is over and although I didn’t make suggestions for the future,my comments may have inspired some,for instance,not helping to make Gombeys any more of a cliche’.Doesn’t human discourse contribute to a way forward?Do you comment in order to exchange ideas and opinions or do you want to be the moderator or censor for Bernews?Furthermore I never whined,stamped my feet,screamed or shouted like a child to get a say in the competition.Good day.

  13. lisabet says:

    The show was wonderful and everyone should go to the gallery and check it out. There is also a peoples choice award that you can vote for. I really liked the winning piece and thought it deserved to win. Congratulations to Teresa.