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Northampton Academy student wins top prize in international art competition

Northampton Academy student wins top prize in international art competition

Northampton Academy is celebrating after one of its students took home first place at an international art competition. Year 11 student, Anastasija, was last week crowned winner of United Learning’s International Art Competition.  

The annual competition challenges young artists across United Learning’s secondary academies and independent schools to create an original piece of artwork. Students who place in the top four win the chance to have their artwork exhibited at the prestigious International High School Arts Festival in Tokyo, whilst the competition winner is awarded an all-expenses paid trip to Japan with a guardian to see their artwork on display in person.

This year, the competition was conducted entirely virtually with final scores comprised of votes from three separate audiences: social media (25%), the Group’s art teachers and Executive team (25%), as well as two professional artists Meha Hindocha and Francesca Skelhorn (50%). Over a two-week period, these audiences looked through photos of the students’ artwork and voted for their favourite pieces. For our expert judges, this involved taking part in a special virtual judging panel where they discussed the submissions and selected the pieces that stood out to them.

In securing the highest overall score, Anastasija was awarded first place in the competition and is set to go on the once-in-a-lifetime trip to Tokyo later this year. Her detailed piece titled ‘Knowledge is Power’ shows an elegantly dressed woman sitting atop a mountain of books. Commenting on the work, judge Meha Hindocha said:

“This is a beautifully painted piece. It is really well thought out and there is great attention to detail. I love the composition and placement of a powerful black woman in a gorgeous outfit and heels on top of the ancient books.”

Closely behind our winner came our runners-up, who will also each receive a special art kit to commend their efforts. In creating her painting ‘An Ethereal Courtesan’, joint runner-up Morenike from Northampton Academy took inspiration from the iconic image of a geisha. Judge Francesca Skelhorn praised it as being a “dramatic and very technically strong piece of work” which gave the traditional figure a contemporary edge.

Our other joint runner-up, Abeera from Marsden Heights Community College, used her creative talents to paint an image of a whale emerging from the ocean steeped in blue hues. Judge Francesca described Abeera’s ‘The Deep Truth’ as being a “deeply emotive and atmospheric piece” which “captured a moment of power and serenity.”

And finally, our third-place winner, Anthony from Ashford School, produced an impressive self-portrait titled ‘Software’. Commenting on his work, judge Meha praised the “really playful background” and drew out Anthony’s placement of the eyes as an excellent focal point.

Giving our students the opportunity to take part in group-wide competitions like this forms part of our commitment to deliver an Education with Character to all our young people. This means giving them opportunities where they can strengthen their creative skills, develop talents that are unique to them and challenge themselves as they go head-to-head against their peers. 

Speaking of this year’s competition, Sarah Smith, Head of Partnerships at United Learning, said:

“I am delighted that we were able to deliver our International Art Competition virtually this year and continue to give our young artists the chance to have their work exhibited on an international stage. Congratulations to our top four students, as well as to all the young artists who submitted a piece to the competition. We received some thoroughly impressive entries from across the country that really showcase our students’ creativity, imagination and artistic talents. Well done once again to all who took part.”


Posted: Mar 10, 2021,
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