This month, the Curious Duke Gallery hosts the inaugural exhibition of Secret Art Prize Award. Founded by Eleni Duke in 2011, the gallery forms from Eleni’s admiration of surreal art and street art. Her passion also supports young undiscovered talents, where the award was established.
This year’s award winner is Mohammed Sami. From the 130 applicants, Sami received the mantel of the first winner of Secret Art Prize, and £500 cash, gallery representation from CDG, one year Be Smart About Art membership, four x one hour mentoring sessions with BSAA founder and art world expert Susan Mumford, 8ft commission from the WXSP, with materials supplied by Cowling and Wilcox, with a group show at CDG with nine runners up: Aidan Myers, Blandine Bardeau, Karolina Zglobicka, Cherelle Sappleton, Johnathan Reiner, Martha Zmpounou, Novemto, Olivia Yu, and Rosanna Dean. Ultra vie got the chance to ask Eleni Duke about the Curious Duke Gallery and its celebration of the Secret Art Prize Award.
What interests you in creating Curious Duke Gallery in representing surrealist and urban artists?
I wanted to create a gallery which specialises in art that provokes a question, something that stops you in your tracks and makes you look twice, art which is not only is Curious but very enjoyable to be in the company of. For any customer it has always been a talking point in their home and not just a piece for decoration.
What is curiously unique in the Curious Duke Gallery for art enthusiasts to visit?
I would most certainly say that you won’t see art quite like ours in any other gallery. Also we almost are an anti-gallery, saying goodbye to any traits of elitism and snobbery that have been known to be alive and kicking in the art world and embracing a much more welcoming and friendly way of introducing someone to the art world and potentially help them start their own art collection at home. You don’t have to have a reason to like a particular piece of art… Sometimes you just like it and that’s all that matters to us!
What is the highlight in this year’s for Curious Duke?
The highlight of this year’s prize was most certainly the opening night of the winners exhibition. It was the night the prize finally became real to be and was no longer emails and seeing art as images on a screen. It was fantastic to be displaying work of 10 fantastic new talents for the first time in the gallery and for it to be attended by hundreds. The buzz was phenomenal and it was a pleasure to host.
What is unique in this year’s Secret Art Prize Award winner, artwork as the first prize choice?
I think what the judges really responded to with Mohammed’s work was the way his style flickered between fine art and street art. Also the overall execution, concept and style is just outstanding. I am very excited to be working with Mohammed Sami this year.
What can visitors expect for future exhibitions in the Curious Duke Gallery?
Well, we have a very exciting exhibition programme ahead of us for 2015 with exciting exhibitions in our HQ on Whitecross Street and also some exciting projects around London and the UK. We will also be re-launching the Secret Art Prize for its second year in February 2015. STAY TUNED!
The Secret Art Prize ends this week on 27th September at the Curious Duke Gallery.
173 Whitecross Street
London EC1Y 8JT