Doctor raises awareness of frailty through art

Published: 19 April 2017 at 12:29

Katy Shorttle

Former Anglia Ruskin student makes shortlist for the Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize

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Cambridge-based Katy Shorttle is celebrating after being named as one of the 25 artists shortlisted for the Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize 2017.

This year’s competition attracted entries from 1,516 artists from across the world – including Brazil, China, India, Iran and Russia – and features a top prize of £3,000 and a solo exhibition in London.

Katy, who studied for an MA in Illustration and Book Arts at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge and is currently training as a GP in the city, said:

“These five sculptures, chosen for consideration for the Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize, form part of my Frailty Awareness series that stemmed from my work as a doctor in the department of medicine for the elderly.

“The project began as a way of understanding the experiences of frailty, and the resulting work attempts to provide a material language through which physical and psychological aspects of frailty may be understood by others.”

The 31-year-old added:

“I entered the Ashurst Emerging prize in the hope of spreading awareness of the key issues surrounding frailty in older people, such as dealing with spousal illness and dementia, fear of falling, pain, and repeated hospital admissions.  Now that I have been shortlisted for the prize I am thrilled to have the opportunity to exhibit five of the sculptures in London. 

“It has stimulated a new set of sculptures, which question, challenge, and ultimately communicate further the experiences that can accompany frailty in older age, such as chronic illness, the loss of manual dexterity, and the fear of being dependent on others.  Despite my work’s reflection of the challenges posed by old age, the sculptures also seek to emphasise the dignity with which people carry on their lives.”

The competition is sponsored by international law firm Ashurst and organised by gallery and art consultants Oaktree & Tiger, and includes work spanning sculpture, digital, painting and photography.

Conrad Cavalho, Prize Director and Gallery Director at Oaktree & Tiger, said:

“The Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize has rapidly become a highly regarded prize which celebrates up and coming artists across the globe.  We are delighted by the overwhelming response we continue to receive year on year from artists of all ages and disciplines.”

The winners will be announced in June and more information is available on the Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize website.