'The domestic setting is beautiful, still, and a touch awkward.' 
- Sacha Craddock (art critic, writer, curator)

Zena Blackwell's awarding-winning paintings and drawings investigate the chaos, humour, beauty and dark days of motherhood. Her work derives from the constant observation of her two children at play, at rest, or caught unawares in various typical childhood situations. Blackwell scrutinises the wide-ranging spectrum of heightened emotions experienced in motherhood and this can manifest in works that are beautiful and  whimsical but also slightly ominous. Blackwell's paintings have been described as being 'psychologically charged'.


Zena Blackwell is a painter based in Cardiff, Wales, UK. She obtained her Masters in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, London, and degree at Wimbledon School of Art, London. Returning to painting in 2016 following a break from the medium (during which time she explored sculpture, collage, performance and installation), she won first prize at the Cardiff MADE Summer Exhibition in 2017, presenting her first solo show consisting of over 30 paintings and drawings there the year after. The exhibition, 'Seen Not Heard', for which she was awarded a £5k production grant from the Arts Council of Wales, was included in a weekly list of the top 5 UK exhibitions by a-n (The Artists Information Company) and Wales Arts Review included it in a top 10 list of the best Welsh Visual Arts for 2018. In 2019 she won 3rd prize at 'PAINT', an open painting prize at PS Mirabel in Manchester. Zena was selected for the National Eisteddfod in 2018 and 19, and has exhibited widely. Zena founded the instagram blog Contemporary Cymru in 2017 and between 2003-2011, she co-founded a critically acclaimed live music event in London and also DJed nationally and internationally. 


MA Fine Art Central Saint Martins, London, UK
BA Fine Art (hons) Wimbledon College of Art, London, UK


Awards and Grants
Arts Council of Wales £10,000 awarded to Contemporary Cymru for HOUSEHOLD NAME
Arts Council of England £3,800 awarded to Contemporary Cymru for HOUSEHOLD NAME 

3rd prize PAINT at PS Mirabel, Manchester
£5,000 Arts Council of Wales Grant
1st prize Cardiff MADE Summer Open

*Household Name: Group show curated by Contemporary Cymru at:
The Bomb Factory, London (Postponed due to Covid-19, date tbc and Elysium Gallery, Swansea, Postponed from May 2020 to April 2021)

Coming Up For Air - Oriel Canfas, Cardiff  (part of BEEP Biennial) 

Telling Tales  (Three person show with Lara Davies and Rhiannon Davies) - Bay Art, Cardiff 

Arcade Studio Exhibition at Arcade Campfa, Cardiff 

A View From The Edge : Contemporary Landscape in the Digital Age, Cardiff MADE

Cardiff MADE Winter Show
AGORED19 at Galeri, Caernarfon
Present X Correct showcase by Contemporary Cymru at Corsica Studios, London
Y Lle Celf at The Eisteddfod, Llanrwst
PAINT at PS Mirabel, Manchester (awarded 3rd prize)
Empower Me! at g39, Cardiff
Arcade Studios at Bath Fringe Arts Festival, Bath
Tactile Bosch in Japan, Korea and Taiwan
The Mutterscream: Crepuscular Lush, Jacob's Market, Cardiff
Viridis: Spring Show at Cardiff MADE

Winter Show: Cardiff MADE
CSAD Auction at g39, Cardiff
Seen Not Heard: Solo Exhibition at Cardiff MADE, Cardiff
Made in Roath Open at g39, Cardiff
Y lle Celf, The Eisteddfod, Senedd, Cardiff
Filia (feminist conference in Manchester. Exhibition traveled to Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Ankle Biters at Made in Roath, Cardiff
MADE Summer Open Exhibition, Cardiff, curated by Zoe Gingell (won 1st Prize)

'Domestic Bliss' at Made in Roath, Cardiff

'ArtLabBern' Switzerland: My Beautiful Son project, Bern, Switzerland
Clit Rock' My film Pleasure Max was shown at this regular anti-FGM event, London

Central Saint Martins MA Degree show, London
New Pretenders' Bargehouse, London (Interim MA degree show)

Selected works at The Glass Bar, London
'Slap & Tickle' at The Yard Bar, London (curated)
Wimbledon Library group show

Read more
All artworks of Zena Blackwell
Painting, Ginger Cat, Zena Blackwell

Ginger Cat

Zena Blackwell

Painting - 25.5 x 25.5 x 2 cm Painting - 10 x 10 x 0.8 inch


Print, Eagle Eyes, Zena Blackwell

Eagle Eyes

Zena Blackwell

Print - 30 x 42 x 0.2 cm Print - 11.8 x 16.5 x 0.1 inch


Painting, Be Careful What You Wish For, Zena Blackwell

Be Careful What You Wish For

Zena Blackwell

Painting - 45 x 45 x 2 cm Painting - 17.7 x 17.7 x 0.8 inch


Painting, Sienna, Zena Blackwell


Zena Blackwell

Painting - 30 x 25 x 2 cm Painting - 11.8 x 9.8 x 0.8 inch


Painting, The First One Always Sticks, Zena Blackwell

The First One Always Sticks

Zena Blackwell

Painting - 25 x 25 x 3 cm Painting - 9.8 x 9.8 x 1.2 inch


Painting, Sitting Pretty, Zena Blackwell

Sitting Pretty

Zena Blackwell

Painting - 45 x 45 x 3.5 cm Painting - 17.7 x 17.7 x 1.4 inch


Painting, I'm Fine, Zena Blackwell

I'm Fine

Zena Blackwell

Painting - 97 x 71 x 2 cm Painting - 38.2 x 28 x 0.8 inch


Painting, Live Wire, Zena Blackwell

Live Wire

Zena Blackwell

Painting - 60 x 45 x 2 cm Painting - 23.6 x 17.7 x 0.8 inch


Painting, Steak out, Zena Blackwell

Steak out

Zena Blackwell

Painting - 96 x 70 x 3.5 cm Painting - 37.8 x 27.6 x 1.4 inch


Painting, One Size Fits All, Zena Blackwell

One Size Fits All

Zena Blackwell

Painting - 60 x 45 x 2 cm Painting - 23.6 x 17.7 x 0.8 inch


Painting, So I'm Like, Zena Blackwell

So I'm Like

Zena Blackwell

Painting - 40 x 30 x 2 cm Painting - 15.7 x 11.8 x 0.8 inch


Painting, Strong features, Zena Blackwell

Strong features

Zena Blackwell

Painting - 60 x 45 x 2 cm Painting - 23.6 x 17.7 x 0.8 inch


Painting, Untitled (plants, bodies, child), Zena Blackwell

Untitled (plants, bodies, child)

Zena Blackwell

Painting - 49.5 x 40.6 x 0.1 cm Painting - 19.5 x 16 x 0 inch


Painting, With the Fairies, Zena Blackwell

With the Fairies

Zena Blackwell

Painting - 30 x 20 x 0.2 cm Painting - 11.8 x 7.9 x 0.1 inch


Painting, Untitled (1), Zena Blackwell

Untitled (1)

Zena Blackwell

Painting - 25.4 x 25.4 x 2 cm Painting - 10 x 10 x 0.8 inch


Painting, Untitled, Zena Blackwell


Zena Blackwell

Painting - 25.4 x 25.4 x 2 cm Painting - 10 x 10 x 0.8 inch


Painting, They liked it at Dyffryn, Zena Blackwell

They liked it at Dyffryn

Zena Blackwell

Painting - 135 x 66 x 3.5 cm Painting - 53.1 x 26 x 1.4 inch


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Need to know more?
What are their 3 main works?
What is Zena Blackwell’s artistic movement?
The artistic movements of the artists are: Life Portrait Artists, Neoclassical portraits
When was Zena Blackwell born?
The year of birth of the artist is: 1977