The Self-Portrait Prize Exhibition, 2021: Coventry UK City of Culture

17 May - 29 June 2021

"I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best." (Frida Kahlo) 

The Self-Portrait Prize Exhibition 2021 explores the diverse media and imagery through which contemporary artists represent themselves. Including works by internationally recognised artists, advanced postgraduates and some at the very beginning of their artistic studies it reveals the enduring presence of self-portraiture in artistic practices. 

The artworks on display have been selected by the 2021 Prize Judging Panel for their creative and distinguished contribution to the genre. Amongst the selection is also the 2021 winner of the £10,000 Ruth Borchard Prize. The panel of judges this year included the BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz, the Director of the Science Museum Sir Ian Blatchford, High Court Judge Mrs Justice Cheema Grubb, renowned gallerist Victoria Miro, the 2019 Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize winner David Dawson and Ruth Borchard’s son Richard Borchard.


Speaking on behalf of the Collection Dr Robert Travers said: “In this time of COVID, many more people – not just professional artists – have been made to inspect themselves and their surroundings more closely than ever before. Though lockdown has been a challenging time, we know it has also given rise to a flood of new experimentation with self-portraiture and, for some, their very first attempt. We have been overwhelmed by the visual richness and cultural diversity of this year’s prize entries. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Coventry University and the Cathedral, to bring this exhibition of the shortlisted works here to Coventry, as part of the celebrations to mark this year’s City of Culture.”


* The Cathedral is open from 10am to 4pm from Monday to Saturday, and from 12.30pm to 3pm on Sundays. There will be a number of walk-up tickets available on the day. We recommend booking a free ticket online in advance to avoid disappointment should numbers exceed our capacity. Sunday services, and any other services outside of the above tourism hours will be open to all as usual.

Entry is free but booking is recommended. 


Tickets can be booked on the Coventry City of Culture website here.


Installation Views