Keziah Philipps: Sir Denis Mahon Award 2024

March 20, 2024

Keziah Philipps is a multidisciplinary artist who studied on the Royal Drawing School’s postgraduate programme, The Drawing Year, and is the 2023-24 recipient of the Sir Denis Mahon Award. The prize is awarded to an outgoing student and allows them to continue their practice, providing them with funding for a studio space and a solo exhibition at the end of the year. Prior to The Drawing Year, she studied Animation at Kingston University, graduating with a commendation for Expanded Animation Practice: Printmaking.

Autumn Kami

Leafwhelmed is an exhibition made up of carefully constructed prints, paintings and drawings that weave together close observation, fantasy, memory and imagination. Kezia explores themes relating to our connection to the world, from the ‘right to roam’ – the legal freedom to access land including mountains, swamps, heaths and downs - to Gaia theory which considers our place as a part of the world.


Keziah Exhibition V-2

The exhibition also considers the reinterpretation of magic, what magic could mean, and how we can use it to imaginatively recreate a future for ourselves by envisioning common and community spaces as utopian designs. It translates ecological observation and knowledge of natural spaces as an expression of love and value for those spaces, to promote a connection to the natural environment and hold space for it in modern life.


Keziah’s work sometimes involves map-making, found objects and collected natural materials; she often carries prepared copper plates to draw from observation on location. She says;

"Copper plates permit drawings to be made over time and on location. They can get dropped into backpacks and get wet, squashed then cycled somewhere new. Connection between the everyday, natural and otherworldly realms is the foundation of my practice, which explores the networks I form with nature and the philosophical and spiritual journeys I take in the process of creating my work."

“Cartography can be a way to record a time or moment that I have experienced, as well as an immersive world. Detailed intricate drawings respond, develop and evolve from observed forms. My work combines worlds I inhabit and worlds I make, and things I wish were real and things that might be real too.” 


As well as prints, paintings and drawings, Keziah has created sculpted 'Kami creatures' which are portrayals of sprit creatures that relate to the natural environment.

"I make them primarily by hand because it's important that they feel organic and nice to hold. They are responsive to place, inspired by certain energies or shapes I witness. I form the clay in a spontaneous and instinctive manner, so that I don't always know what each creature will turn out like. The creatures work as a kind of automatism, accessing material from the unconscious mind as part of the creative process. They are a kind of language that spills out of the clay in my hands."

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16 psychologically incapable of flight

Perhaps the fundamental message of this exhibition is a call to return to nature, however we can:

"I believe it’s paramount that humanity reconnects to, and learns to care for, the natural world in the face of industrialisation, technological development, and rural depopulation that has disconnected people from their environment and natural spaces. Time spent in nature has been linked to improved mood, increased creativity and physical wellbeing. I believe it’s for the good of both the environment, individuals and society that we reinstate our connection to the natural world."


  1. Autumn Kami, copper etching hand finished with watercolour, 22.5x25cm
  2. Spiralling into control, copper etching, 39.5x39.5cm
  3. Even the rocks do not recall, oil painting on found MDF, 114x96cm
  4. Ponyo, spray paint on found MDF, 108x96cm
  5. Stackable lizards, glazed ceramic, various sizes
  6. Psychologically incapable of flight, unglazed ceramics on plywood board, 30x40x4xm

All works are available to buy online or in person at the gallery. Visit:

Follow @keziahphilipps

This exhibition is kindly supported by The Sir Denis Mahon Foundation

Exhibition dates: 21 March –12 April 2024

Opening times: Mon-Fri: 9am-9pm & Sat 23 March 9am-5pm | Closed Easter weekend

Address: Royal Drawing School, 19-22 Charlotte Rd, London EC2A 3SG