DJCAD graduate wins third prize at the prestigious Scottish Portrait Awards

  • Published: 9 Dec 2019

Graduate Li Huang recently scooped an award for his oil on canvas painting of his mother…

Congratulations to one of our recent graduates, Li Huang, who was awarded with third prize at the prestigious Scottish Portrait Awards, which were held in Edinburgh last month.

Li, who studied both an undergraduate degree in Fine Art and a Masters degree in Art & Humanities at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, won the award for his painting of his mother, Kinship.

Created using oil on canvas, the work was painted both from life and from a variety of photographs Li took when he returned to China and stayed with his mother for several weeks over the summer in 2018, following his graduation with first class honours in Fine Art last year.

He told us, “I spent the whole summer with my mother after I finished my undergraduate degree at Duncan of Jordanstone. We spent a lot of time talking about my father, who sadly has passed away. She was happy I got a first class in my degree, but my father is no longer with us so it was quite a complicated time. She wishes my father was still alive, because he would be proud.”

Li took a number of photographs over the summer and began working on three oil on canvas portraits of her when he was back in the UK. I used the photographs as a reference, but I would also telephone my mother regularly to try and capture what she said to me. The painting isn’t completely from life but it’s not completely from the photography either, as it was shaped by the constant contact with her.”

“I really wanted to show her tenacious personality in the painting, which I think I’ve done.”

In regards to the Scottish Portrait Awards ceremony itself, which was held at the Scottish Arts Club on November 13, Li told us, “It was great. It was a huge surprise for me and it was also a great experience to be able speak to the other artists on the night.”

Finally, what does Li’s mother think about his recent success? “I told her about the award and she's very, very happy. She actually likes this painting the best out of the three I painted. I asked her why she didn’t like the other two and she replied, ‘Well, I’m not that old.’ So this one is definitely her favourite.”

Visit the Scottish Portrait Awards Exhibition at the Glasgow Art Club from 17 January to 15 February 2020, and then at Kircudbright Galleries from 14 March to 24 May 2020.

Like the sound of our BA in Fine Art and our MFA in Art & Humanities? Have a look on our course pages.

“I used the photographs as a reference, but I would also telephone my mother regularly to try and capture what she said to me. The painting isn’t completely from life but it’s not completely from the photography either, as it was shaped by the constant contact with her.”

Li Huang