The Winner of the 2016 Emerald Winter Pride Art Awards is…


Heidi McCormack, CEO of Emerald Life, proudly announced Rosso as the winner of the 2016 Emerald Winter Pride Art Awards on Friday evening at the Islington Arts Factory, London. 

Madame Moustache

With her Madam Moustache painting, Rosso beat off tough competition from four other finalists (and over 200 entries – including from as far as Kenya!) to receive the winner’s trophy and prize money of £1,000.00, provided by Emerald Life.

‘It struck me how the theme of this year’s Art awards – line of beauty – exploring sexuality, gender and identity – so faithfully framed the narrative of the painting I chose to submit, titled Madame Moustache,‘ said Rosso ahead of Friday’s event.

‘Executed in a classical way reminiscent of Titian’s Venus of Urbino, Madame Moustache is a portrait of a reclining woman who is tattooed, shaved and with moustaches. The painting is clearly inspired by Manet’s Olympia – a ‘real’ woman who, back in 1865, shocked the wider conservative audience with her defying attitude, breaking with a tradition of goddess-like female representations – and, likewise, pushed the boundaries of the ‘commonly’ accepted by impersonating a very contemporary idea of beauty which departs from binary gender classifications. Deeply rooted canons of beauty pertaining the female body are crashed, giving way to a new model centred around the individual as such, regardless of his/her own sexuality.

‘By playing around the very notion of ‘female’ and ‘male’ as two distinct, separate identities, the painting also invites the viewers to consider the possibility of a coexistence of both elements in each and every person, as a mean for both personal and social emancipation.’


To a full crowd at the event, Rosso thanked the judges for selecting her work as the winning entry, and vowed to stand by the LGBT community in the on-going fight for equality around the world, saying, ‘I will stand for LGBT people, and anyone, against discrimination.’

Heidi McCormack said, ‘As Chief Executive of Emerald, I am proud we are supporting this event and am thrilled to announce Rosso as the Winner of the 2016 Emerald Winter Pride Art Awards. Art is such a fundamental part of culture and community, of defining and recording who we are and how we see the world.’

Madam Moustache and the works of the other finalists and runners up are on display at the Islington Arts Factory until the 29th of April.