Brit Awards 2023 trophy design by Slawn highlights opportunity, gratitude and celebration

Chosen to design the Brit Awards 2023 trophy, Nigeria-born visual artist Slawn is making strides, and has collaborations with Virgil Abloh and Skepta under his belt

Brit Awards 2023 Trophy by Slawn
Brit Awards 2023 trophy by Slawn
(Image credit: Courtesy Brit Awards and Slawn)

The Brit Awards 2023 trophy design was entrusted to London-based, Nigeria-born artist Slawn. As the design is revealed ahead of the 11 February 2023 event – with such renowned predecessors as Vivienne Westwood, Zaha Hadid and, most recently, Yinka Ilori and Es Devlin – the creation marks an iconic moment in the 22-year-old’s career. 

Already during his few, high-impact years in the arts, Slawn has collaborated with Virgil Abloh on 9EN, a Lagos-based skate collective, as well as a capsule collection with British rapper Skepta for American clothing brand Denim Tears.

Brit Awards 2023: a celebration of British culture

Brit Awards 2023 trophy by Slawn

(Image credit: Courtesy Brit Awards and Slawn)

The annual celebration of British culture, which has been recognising musicians since 1977, has been introducing artists, stylists and designers to lead its annual interpretation of the awards trophies since 2011. The awards comprise 12 categories and highlight albums, newcomers and genres in the music industry, with this year’s ceremony due to be held on 11 February at the O2 Arena, London.

Brit Awards 2023 trophy sketches by Slawn

Brit Awards 2023 trophy sketches by Slawn

(Image credit: Courtesy Brit Awards and Slawn)

Slawn’s designs are made from bronze and feature a three-part array of facial contortions. The almost-ironic figures respectively represent opportunity, gratitude and celebration and conceptually embody the phrase ‘hats off to you’. The metal designs see Slawn deviate from his usual vibrant, spray-painted and challenging artworks, not only in medium and tone, but by having the figures hold their helmets in their hands. ‘My decision to remove the helmet from the award is my way of thanking The Brits for providing me with this opportunity,’ he explains.

The three-part aspect of the design allows a range of inspirations to be included; Slawn nods to his upbringing in Lagos in the use of bronze, the material holding a nostalgic link to the statues he grew up around.

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Martha Elliott is the Junior Digital News Editor at Wallpaper*. After graduating from university she worked in arts-based behavioural therapy, then embarked on a career in journalism, joining Wallpaper* at the start of 2022. She reports on art, design and architecture, as well as covering regular news stories across all channels.