07 Jul 2023

Talented young artists from across the UK and overseas have claimed prizes in our annual iart competition.

Talented young artists from across the UK and overseas have claimed prizes in an annual art competition for prep school pupils, wowing the judges with their inspiring creativity and technically excellent artwork showcasing a passion for the environment.

Entrants into the 2023 iart competition, open to pupils in five age groups for those aged between five and 15 who attend IAPS (Independent Association of Prep Schools) member schools, were asked to draw, paint, make or create art that demonstrates their feelings about the natural world and sustainability.

And they responded enthusiastically, with hundreds of entries pouring in from schools across the UK and from as far as afield as Kenya, Ghana and Hong Kong.

The iart judging panel was faced with the difficult task of choosing between the entries received, with the standard extremely high and a huge variety of subject matter and media chosen.

Entries needed to relate in some way to the theme of ‘The Environment’ and the judges wanted to understand how passionately pupils felt about the natural world and sustainability, learn about the projects and individuals they admired, and what they think the older generation should be doing right now about global warming.

The artwork produced in response to the brief included pencil and pastel drawings, watercolours, oil paintings, lino prints, mixed media images, collages, textiles and sculptures. The diverse work entered focused on literal representations of pupils’ local or favourite environments; environmental campaigners such as Greta Thunberg and Sir David Attenborough; and the plight of animals and aquatic life; as well as creative and impressionistic interpretations of the theme.

The prize winners were invited to attend a special ceremony at Eaton Square Senior School, on Piccadilly in London, at the end of June, where they were presented with an artwork print of their work and a certificate by the outgoing IAPS CEO Christopher King, who retired at the end of June after five years leading the organisation representing world-class headteachers who lead world-class schools. They have also all received vouchers to use at local independent bookshops.

Stewart Heeley, Head of Communications at IAPS, organised the competition and said: "Congratulations go to all our winners, who produced some truly stunning pieces of work, impressing us with their insight, passion for the environment, skills and creativity.

“The array of talent we have among pupils in our member schools is truly remarkable and I know the judges really struggled to make decisions on the winners as there were so many inspiring and technically superb entries in every age category.

"The judges focused on not only the creativity and skill demonstrated but also how closely the artists had followed and met the brief, with the winners all showing an inspiring love for the environment around them. Many went the extra mile by making powerful statements about the damage the human race has already done, and continues to do, to the natural world.

"Art is ultimately subjective and, although our judges were there to make decisions on who was to receive the prizes, they could have made convincing arguments for dozens of others that just missed out on this occasion.

"Every pupil that entered is a winner in our eyes and, if the talent they are demonstrating at their relatively young ages continues to build as they mature, we will be blessed with some truly superb artists in the future."

The winning entries in this year's competition will go on display at Liverpool’s ACC during the IAPS Annual Conference, which takes place from Monday 25 - Wednesday 27 September, attended by hundreds of national and international prep school heads.

The winners in each category were as follows:

Age group: Years 1-2
1st place: 'Time is Ticking' by Millen - Milton Keynes Prep, Milton Keynes (Poster paint/printing ink)
2nd place: 'Under the sea' by Ruby - Manor Lodge School, Radlett (Clay/acrylic paint) 
3rd place: 'Sea Turtle' by Alexander - Blackheath Prep, London (Mixed media)
Highly Commended: 'Fish in Danger' by Oliver - St Dunstan’s College Junior, London (Mixed media)

Age group: Years 3-4
1st place: 'One small person can change the world' by Elodiedh - Ewell Castle Prep, Surrey (Collage/watercolour)
2nd place: 'Sea and Earth' by Siya - Kenton College Prep, Nairobi, Kenya (Mixed media)
3rd place: 'Help save our earth from pollution' by Ella - St Dunstan’s College Junior, London (Mixed media)
Highly Commended: 'Lonely' by Miranda - Nottingham High Infant & Junior, Nottingham (Chalk pastel)
Highly Commended: 'Cave in Patagonia' by Caitlyn - Broughton Manor Prep, Milton Keynes (Mod-roc/paint)
Age group: Years 5-6
1st place: 'Save us' by Matilda - The Stormont School, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire (Lino print/collage)
2nd place: 'Busy Bees' by Lottie - St Neot’s Prep, Hook, Hampshire (Acrylic paint/watercolours/pencil)
3rd place: 'Cloth, Thread, Paint' by Ollie - St Columba’s College Prep, St Albans (Textiles/paint)
Highly Commended: 'Saving Wildlife – The Puzzle' by Charlotte - Heath Mount School, Hertford (Acrylic paint)
Age group: Years 7-8
1st place: 'Local landscape' by Jessica – Brambletye, East Grinstead, Sussex (Acrylic paint)
Joint 2nd: 'Mother Nature’s Tears' by Lyra - Saint Ronan’s School, Hawkhurst, Kent (Pencil/graphite/acrylic paint)
Joint 2nd: 'Budding Future' by Jisu - Kenton College, Nairobi, Kenya (Watercolour)
3rd: 'Prozid' by Marlowe - Dunhurst, Bedales Prep, Steep, Hampshire (Acrylic paint)
Highly Commended: 'The Polar Bear' by Safiya - Ardingly College, Haywards Heath, Sussex (Acrylic paint)
Highly Commended: 'Blue Whale' by Ariel - Mount Kelly Prep, Tavistock, Devon (Lino print)

Age group: Years 9-10
1st place: 'Our Inspiration' by Cyrene - The Roman Ridge School, Accra, Ghana (Oil paint)

Stewart Heeley added: “Our thanks go to all the pupils that worked so hard and demonstrated such skill and passion in their artwork, but also to their art teachers who nurtured and encouraged them to express their talents and handled their entries. Without their commitment and enthusiasm we would not have a competition.”

All of the winning entries in this year's iart competition can be viewed here (member login required).

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