Awe + Wonder

The Chaiya Art Awards 2023


Space is where miracles happen

Over 3,400 people visited this extra-ordinary exhibition 7-16 April 2023 at gallery@oxo & Bargehouse Gallery on London’s South Bank – surprised to find 14 themed rooms to immerse themselves in its multi-faceted spirituality and responses to the theme of Awe+Wonder. 

This exhibition showcased over 100 pieces in an affordable art collection which included – interactive installation, textiles, photography and film, sculpture, ceramics and painting and drawing.

“A gem of an exhibition, we stumbled across it serendipitously.  Thank you to the all the artists and volunteers.”  M&T C

“Absolutely amazing, such beautiful creativity.  Can’t wait for the next one.”  D&J L

“An unexpected pleasure.”  CW, Watford

“Agree with all the people I know who came – that this show was fantastic – extremely well curated and hung.  Superb.”  SG

The 1st prize and the 8 Judges Choice award are highlighted below.  

Over 2,000 votes were received for the Public Vote, to see the results click here. 


1st Prize £10,000


Observer of Dreams
by Julia Polonski

Oil on canvas
H: 152cm W: 122cm

The painting sits between two worlds. The precarious place of recalling and reframing our fragile dreams from sleep into conscious life. The time we sit with such dreams can sustain and enrich our existence and perhaps enable us to experience, briefly, the mystery of the sublime.


On winning the award

To win the 1st prize with my painting “Observer of Dreams” feels incredible, as being a part of the exhibition was in itself exhilarating and reward enough. The variety of exhibits on show were so impressive, thoughtful, varied, and well curated it was quite overwhelming to view all the works on the opening night and absorb the emotional impact of some of the pieces.  This is why I was so shocked to be given the award and congratulated by the judges personally after the announcements.  

Meeting all the fellow exhibitors and the positive spirit of the whole show in this stunning venue makes the memory of that evening a very special moment.  I was also really pleased to have a large drawing in the show, as drawing is the foundation of all my work.  The activity of drawing and painting has been a constant though all events in my life since a child.  Working within a tradition with such a stimulating history and evolution, encourages me to always push and develop my work to the highest standard I can.  I am delighted that my painting was able to communicate something to the judges that enabled them to give me this prize. 

The substantial prize money is really appreciated and will buy much needed paint and canvas.  The whole experience of being part of the Chaiya Awards Exhibition has given me such encouragement and a spiritual lift, I am back in the studio with renewed vigour. 
Julia Polonski

Judges Choice Awards

Each artist won £500

In no particular order

Addiction by Robert Elsdale

Addiction by Robert Elsdale
Spalted hornbeam wood with mirror gloss

Space by Anne Smith

Space by Anne Smith
Fabric quilt (recycled clothing: cotton, linen, mixed blends), hand pieced, appliqued, hand-embroidered, hand-quilted. 

A Mother's Gaze by Li Ann Lee

A Mother’s Gaze by Li Ann Lee
Double-sided infinity box with photos

Into the dark woods 2
by Tom Hall & Bridget Eastman
Woven, cast and felted trees, theatrically lit with shadow projection and quiet soundtrack

All that I have left by Andy Simpson
Video installation, light, sound and sculpture

Silicon Valley by Michael Coppolov

Silicon Valley by Michael Coppolov
Oil on eighteen-sided stretched canvas

Ochre Light by Joy Wolfendon-Brown

Ochre Light by Joy Wolfendon-Brown
Oil paint on paper

Voix Celestes (Heavenly Voices) by Maureen Jordan

Voix Celestes (Heavenly Voices)
by Maureen Jordan
Activate each stool to hear recorded birdsong and music

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science."

Albert Einstein