As a student at Falmouth University’s School of Art, Kiki Birtles (b. 2001) won the Worshipful Company of Founders’ grand first prize in the BAMS Student Medal project 2021 with her medal Inherited. That medal is now issued by BAMS in order to make it available to members. It is being cast at the college by the artist, who is now in her third year.
Birtles explains in the Student Medal Project catalogue: ‘My medal represents how the younger generation have inherited the problems of the world and have been bound to hold its enormous weight, this being shown on the front where there is a shallow impression of the earth, and a person in agony having to hold it up, but also being simultaneously crushed, an image inspired by the Greek myth of Atlas. On the reverse, a peaceful scene is depicted, a figure asleep curled around the constellations, representing being drawn to the sky in dreams of escape from earth, towards bigger things. The hair of the figure is wrapped around the edge, encasing both sides of the medal, showing the hope and chaos of our slow self-destruction; also, however, how this strange situation can amplify our creativity.’