The 2013 Me,Myself, I, Art Competition for pupils aged 4 to 16 years, organised by Chris Hiscock, Cambridge Culture for Children and Young People in partnership with Cambridge Library Service has just had its awards ceremony at Hinchingbrooke House, Huntingdon.
This was a year-long competition with an exhibition of the finalists’ pictures travelling round various branch libraries in Cambridgeshire. It was the general public who chose the five age category winners announced at the ceremony.
There was a big gathering, the finalists, their families and teachers all looking very smart, for there were going to be press photos. The children were excited; there was lots of delicious food and cash prizes for the winners and schools, thanks to sponsorship by ESPO. The youngest finalists - some of them very young - clung on tight to their parents throughout.
There was an exhibition of their work and mine – for I was there to judge the overall winner; not an easy task with such a range of ages. Here are the pictures I had to chose between:
by Gracie Dean, Foundation Stage – a loose, lively painting showing Gracie on the stage fulfilling her ambition to be a singer
by Aaron Sagoo, KS1 – a sporty, happy self portrait in bold, bright colours
by Francesca Callow, KS2 – a fascinating picture using the original idea of jigsaw puzzle pieces
by Ellie Childs, KS3 – Ellie’s use of colour and design - using the body as a framework - is striking; I saw here a natural illustrator
by Ali Francis, KS4 – A thoughtful, well observed and imaginative drawing.
It was going to be impossible to choose just one. So I went back to the brief:
The theme is about you, looking at yourself, your friends, your environment – as it is now, as it might be in the future or as you would like it to be if anything was possible.
And the skill focus is drawing from imagination and/or observation.
After much deliberation, I chose Francesca Callow’s picture because it met a complex brief with wonderful simplicity; she saw her life as a jigsaw puzzle – such a great idea, for life is like a puzzle; all interlinked, with one action or decision leading to another. And I liked her choice of colour: green, suggesting growth, something natural and environmentally friendly and, superimposed in the middle, a larger piece of the jigsaw, pink and luminous - a portrait of herself. And a very good likeness, too, I discovered, when I met her in person.
I do hope the others weren't too disappointed; they all came so close to winning.
And now I will have a dose of my own medicine; my picture book, We're Going to Build a Dam has been selected for the 3-6 longlist of the 2014 UKLA Book Awards; the only national awards judged entirely by teachers. I will have to wait until March to hear whether it gets shortlisted.