LivingEDGE school arts exhibition 2009

The annual Living Edge Schools' Art Show was founded nine years ago to recognise and encourage talented young artists in the North West.

This year’s show, held in the Lowry’s Hexagon Suite at Salford Quays, was a further reminder of the depth and range of that talent. As always, the exhibition was sponsored by Jones Homes, one of the country’s leading house-builders, and by Fred Aldous, Manchester’s premier arts supplier, who donated fabulous prizes, not just to the winners, but to all the students whose work had been selected for display in the prestigious gallery.The judging panel, chaired by journalist Mike Smith, comprised Mark Higgins and Laura Meare of Jones Homes, Susan and Trevor Walker of Fred Aldous Ltd and Geoffrey Key, a highly regarded artist whose work is widely exhibited in this country and has featured recently in shows in Dublin, Sydney and Hong Kong. Faced with a wide variety of high-quality work, the six judges had the difficult but enjoyable task of awarding prizes in three age categories.


First prize in the 14-and-under section went to Beth Underwood, of Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, for a finely-executed and penetrating portrait that clearly demonstrates her artistic potential. The runners-up in this category were Esraa Eltom of Manchester High School for Girls, who showed that a well-painted simple portrait can be just as effective as a more detailed piece of work, and Simon Howard of Stockport Grammar School, who submitted an unusual and very striking embroidered picture of a shoe.


The prize in the 16-and-under category, which included a fine composite image produced by 40 students of Knutsford High School, was won by Sana Iqbal of Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, for a hard-hitting political work that cleverly combined elements of Banksy and Picasso. The highly commended awards in this section went to Genevieve Wood of Manchester High School for Girls, whose picture of a station platform showed her sure touch with bold, uninhibited brush strokes, and Winky Chan of Casterton School, who exhibited a superbly crafted sculpture-cum-vase in the shape of a shell. This is the second successive year that a young sculptor from Casterton has won a prize in the competition.


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First prize in the 18-and-under category went to Jack Barber of Cheadle Hulme School for his striking painting of four faces. Geoffrey Key compared his clever use of colour with that used by Fauve painters such as Matisse – high praise indeed. The runners-up were Jenny McCloughlin, of Stockport Grammar School, who submitted a superbly painted photo-realist picture of a fisherman’s cottage, and Scott Walker of Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, who had put together a collage incorporating news headlines and an image of Barack Obama. President Obama’s slogan during his election campaign was “We Can Do It”. All the young artists represented in the Living Edge exhibition showed that they can do it too.

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