BP Portrait Award 2017 | National Portrait Gallery

Since attending last year as the first assignment of my A Level art course, I've been eagerly awaiting this year's BP Portrait Award exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. With 2,580 entries from 87 different countries, it shows the best and brightest of today's contemporary art scene. The vast technical skill of the works left me in awe. It was also refreshing to see such a diverse range of styles and approaches to a portrait in one space.

The above piece is by Lithuanian artist Laura Guoke. She received a grant to go to Syrian refugee camps and paint the people she came across after winning the BP Travel Award last year. It fascinates me how politics, and social issues continue to seep into contemporary exhibitions - it shows what an important role art can play in terms of challenging how we see and portray the world. Not to mention Guoke's portraits are rather beautiful. Check out the National Portrait Gallery's blog post to read about Guoke's experience.

The exhibition is open until September 24 and it's free! I can say from personal experience that it is a fantastic way to spend a lunch break.