Christine Risley Award

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Farrah Riley-Gray, 'I Exist as Cocoa Butter and Mangos' (2019)

The Christine Risley Award is a cash prize awarded by the Goldsmiths Textile Collection & Constance Howard Gallery to a graduating Goldsmiths student for outstanding work relating to textiles, in memory of Christine Risley.

The Christine Risley Award Winner 2019

Farrah Riley-Gray

The Goldsmiths Textile Collection and Constance Howard Gallery are pleased to announce  that the winner of the Christine Risley Award 2019 is BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate Farrah Riley Gray. The judging panel was impressed by the quality of her degree show exhibit which combined aesthetics and politics in a carefully considered and expertly executed combination of textile and sound work.

Riley Gray's practice deals with misogynoir with a current focus on hair within black cultures. She is also interested in the rituals behind textiles and weaving, examining the way in which materials can convey relationships between culture, race and gendered product making, as well as their potential to hold diasporic stories absent from other historical or archival sources.

The textile work consists of a blanket constructed from handwoven squares of black hair. In the words of guest judge Dr Christine Checinska (Artist, Writer, Designer):

‘The textures, the techniques in crafting black hair, the subtle differences in colour from jet black to mahogany brown was a quiet statement in the ‘good hair/bad hair’ conundrum rooted in enslavement that black women are forced to navigate at an inner level before finding themselves’.

The intimacy of the blanket was paralleled by the spoken word quietly emanating from speakers placed either side of a bench from which to view the textile. Drawing on Farrah’s own daily experiences, the words document the experiences of many black women.

Farrah Riley-Gray's work will be on exhibition at the Constance Howard Gallery


30 September – 4 November 2019, Mon-Fri 11am-5pm
Opening Reception Friday 27 September 5-8pm
Late opening: Friday 25 October, 6-9pm
Weekend opening: Saturday 26 October, 11am-7pm.

Find out more

The Christine Risley Award is open to any final year undergraduate student currently enrolled in the Art or Design Departments at Goldsmiths. The prize acknowledges the diversity and plurality of contemporary textile practice.  Work must be practice-based / creative but may encompass any media.

Guidelines for submission

Learn more about Goldsmiths’ Textile Collection and the Constance Howard Gallery

About Christine Risley

A textile artist, Christine Risley (1926–2003) was a key member of Constance Howard’s remarkable and innovative department of textiles, where she set up the machine embroidery area in the 1960s and published a series of books on embroidery. She saw herself as a modern woman, encouraging her students to be adventurous in both work and life.