Myth vies with gritty social realism on portrait shortlist

Rob Sharp,Arts Correspondent
Thursday 14 April 2011 00:00 BST

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


The depiction of an anonymous Belfast drug addict has made the shortlist of this year's BP Portrait Award, to go on display at London's National Portrait Gallery.

Ian Cumberland's Just to Feel Normal, depicting a friend of the painter, shows "what can happen if your situation in life deteriorates", according to the artist, who is based in Co Down.

"He doesn't do a lot, he is lost," said Cumberland, who preferred not to name his subject.

Also on the shortlist is Manchester artist Louis Smith's portrait of a naked model, Holly, handcuffed to a rock, which the artist describes as a "re-imagining of the Prometheus [myth] in female form". Prometheus was chained to a rock by Zeus as punishment for stealing fire from the gods.

Completing the shortlist is Sertan Sultan's Mrs Cerna, of a girl brandishing a knife, and Wim Heldens' Distracted, showing a 25-year-old philosophy student leaning against a wall.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in