Self-taught artist Jiab Prachakul scoops this year's BP Portrait Award

Night Talk by Jiab Prachakul, 2019 © Jiab Prachakul

Jiab Prachakul has won the prestigious first prize in the BP Portrait Award 2020 for her portrait, Night Talk, which depicts her close friends in a bar in Berlin.

It's to go on display in the upcoming BP Portrait Award 2020 exhibition, which has opened online on the National Portrait Gallery's website, while the Gallery in London is temporarily closed due to the current pandemic.

This year, the winning portrait was selected from 1,981 entries from 69 countries. The judges thought the work was "an evocative portrait of a fleeting moment in time, giving us a glimpse into someone else's life that is beautiful, mysterious and alive. It is loosely painted, and the bold composition makes clever use of contrasting shapes".

Prachakul wins £35,000 and a commission, at the National Portrait Gallery's Trustees' discretion, worth £7,000 (agreed between the National Portrait Gallery and the artist). Born in Nakhon Phanom, in northeast Thailand, in 2006 Prachakul relocated to London where she realised that she wanted to be an artist after attending the David Hockney exhibition at the Gallery. Entirely self-taught, her work has been seen in solo exhibitions in the UK, Germany and France. This is the first time she has been selected for the BP Portrait Award exhibition.

Second prize went to Russian artist, Sergey Svetlakov for Portrait of Denis: Actor, Juggler and Fashion Model. The judges said the work "was a timeless study showing devotion to detail and a connection between painter and subject. Tenderly observed, and unfussy, the thickly applied, re-worked paint skillfully describes the passage of time throughout the painting's gestation".

And in third place is Michael Youds, a gallery attendant at the National Galleries of Scotland, for his portrait Labour of Love depicting Tommy Robertson, the owner of an independent music store in Edinburgh. The judges thought that his portrait was "both poignant and funny. It definitely struck a chord as an allegory for a time and place that already feels nostalgic".

The BP Young Artist Award, meanwhile, for the work of a selected entrant aged between 18 and 30 has been won by Dutch artist Egbert Modderman for Restless which depicts the Old Testament figure of Eli. The judges said the portrait was "highly accomplished. It combines the strong and striking composition with a surprising sense of immediacy. The thinly applied paint, with the interesting brushed effect, gives a sense of depth, while the use of a simple palette and monumental structure creates a compelling and mature work".

Sergey Svetlakov for Portrait of Denis: Actor, Juggler and Fashion Model

Sergey Svetlakov for Portrait of Denis: Actor, Juggler and Fashion Model

Michael Youds for Labour of Love (1400 × 1000mm, Oil on canvas) © Michael Youds

Michael Youds for Labour of Love (1400 × 1000mm, Oil on canvas) © Michael Youds

Egbert Modderman for Restless (940 × 1220mm, Oil on board) © Egbert Modderman

Egbert Modderman for Restless (940 × 1220mm, Oil on board) © Egbert Modderman