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Our Art Competition is a brilliant opportunity for young artists to compete internationally and showcase their talent.

We received close to 670 entries from students in 140 COBIS schools worldwide. Well done to all students who entered and congratulations to our competition winners and runners-up!

We are grateful to Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) for their partnership. AUB offers high quality specialist education in art, design, media and performance across the creative industries. It is the top specialist university for art and design in the UK (Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021).

Winners

The winners and runners-up are listed below, along with comments from our guest judges at Arts University Bournemouth.

EYFS & Key Stage 1

Winner: Lily Auh, aged 7, British Education Korea

Judges’ comments: The clarity of the title and description leads us into the wonderful world of this young creative who shares with us their favourite things. The strong desire to make the audience happy when they looked at the artwork is fully achieved. The expressive freedom is evident in the use of bright colours and mixed media with paint, crayon, collage, and clay relief work all adding to the interest and joy we experienced when looking at this artwork. A well-deserved winner.


Runner-up: Iyaan Shyju, aged 4, Oryx International School

Judges’ comments: What a cake! Another wonderfully descriptive caption, which describes the layers and layers of all their favourite things piled high for all to see and enjoy. A delightful interpretation of the brief incorporating all the things this creative appreciates, we suggest they keep this personal aspect in their artwork because that is what makes great art - when you really pour your whole self into it.


Key Stage 2

Winner: Erika Adeline Peet, aged 9, The International British School of Bucharest

Judges’ comments: This is a beautifully executed watercolour painting. The graduating depth of colours in the background intensify the appearance and depth of endless space. Our focus is drawn to the central figure and the delicate watercolour brush strokes on the spacesuit which appear so minimal and yet is so effective add to the otherworldly quality of this painting. The excellent use of a foreshortening technique creates a superb sense of illusion with the subject receding into distant space whilst floating towards us adding to the sense of anti-gravity floating in space. This painting evokes a remarkable sense of timeless suspension.


Runner-up: Annika Baberwal, aged 10, Hartland International School

Judges’ comments: We felt that a great deal of thought had gone into the development of this artwork and the clear uncomplicated pictogram figures representing the character traits are simple but highly effective. The foregrounded symbolic hands gesture reaching out to try and achieve some of these positive behaviours demonstrates a striving and humble, creative mind. It looks at the world and people in a positive way whilst the central question of ‘am I truly human’ questions our human ability to attain such a sense of contentment.


Key Stage 3
This was a particularly strong category with many artworks that were at a high standard, making it very difficult to choose a winner, so congratulations to you if you entered this category and sorry we couldn’t mention more of the excellent entries.

Winner: Aurora Firdaus Visvanathan, aged 14, Prince of Wales Island International School

Judges’ comments: This artwork shared a comprehensive description specifically aimed at the competition title and revealed some personal and treasured family stories. The ethereal effect of the whole painting creates an atmospheric feeling of warmth. Loaded with symbolism throughout with strong hues and streaks of red and orange in the sky reminiscent of Van Gogh’s Starry Night and red roses representing Grandmother. Symbols are also used to good effect with heart shaped ponds and an anchor to represent other family members. Painted with bold yet sensitive strokes, it is a beautiful composition well balanced and comprised of many different aspects.


Runner-up: Jay Xiao, aged 13, Wellington College International Shanghai

Judges’ comments: The creations of other artists are a constant source of inspiration and can also act as a vehicle through which to explore our own ideas and identity and that is what this piece does well. The work has taken both stylistic and emotive influences from the known artist Basquiat and translated and modified them using a fresh colour palette and mark making techniques that echo the artist but don’t directly copy. Using a variety of lines and lack of uniformity, the abstract shapes and forms keep the eye moving across the page. It is a successful blend of abstract shapes that come together as a whole painting and radiate the artists sense of frustration and perhaps anguish. A painting that offers the viewer a reflection of themselves at a moment in time.


Key Stage 4 

Winner: Giulia Van Wagensveld, aged 15, The British School of Amsterdam

Judges’ comments: This original and mixed media piece scrutinises the media as it continues to be placed under scrutiny and questioned about the morality and approaches to the way they present and share news. Young people are bombarded with social media and find the pressure to conform can lead to feelings of low self-esteem and isolation. This well considered 3D artwork needs very little explanation, it shows a young woman hemmed in the news stories of the day, told what to think by emerging 3D hands, collaged in poignant words and putting on of the mask. Or maybe it is being removed revealing a very different and sad looking monochromatic face beneath. It is a powerful mixed media piece with wide reaching messaging.


 

Runner-up 1: Sophie Lei, aged 15, The Alice Smith School

Judges’ comments: Quite a complex and evocative digital image using a mosaic style and comprised of many separate photo images, the piece is then overlaid with an enigmatic selfportrait. It is the complexity and recognition of this skills challenge that won the judges over. The delicate additions of paint effects and soft tones combined with the digital elements allow the image to work as a striking and sensitive self-portrait.

Runner-up 2: Sabina Lacey, aged 15, Prince of Wales Island International School

Judges’ comments: Excellent use of watercolour painting techniques such as washes, gradients and blending all combining to create a dream like image of childhood experiences and family memories. Tenderly painted, the expressive detail on the faces and the evocative childlike mood of this piece won the judges over. We could imagine floating on the hobby horse and flying on the candy floss clouds.

 

Key Stage 5

Winner: Josephine Cole-Porcher, aged 16, The British School of Paris

Judges’ comments: Another artwork inspired by a combination of artists but interpreted in a unique and personal way. The messaging is fierce and powerful, this student is ready to stand up for herself! This well balanced and composed collage uses a vintage circus theme and a limited colour palette to great effect. Proportion and placing of the collaged pieces are well considered, it’s not easy to create a successful collage, the overall impact gives a sense of movement and fun, but the inclusion of meaningful text sends out a message of liberation. The central portrait is a well observed self-portrait and the added suggestion of activity using a penned moustache adds to this many layered piece.


Runner-up 1: Aaliyaa Doamekpor, aged 16, Wellington College International Shanghai

Judges’ comments: A beautifully observed portrait of a young person gazing directly out and returning the gaze of the viewer adding to the emotional response created. The wearing of a hooded top suggests a casual carefree young person enjoying life.

Runner-up 2: Albina Turakbayeva, aged 16, Haileybury Almaty

Judges’ comments: In this dramatically illuminated painting the darkness dominates. The lack of detail in the surroundings focusses the attention and draws the viewer into the centre of the painting, to the shadowy, expressionless face for this ‘honest look at myself’. The gaze aimed directly at the viewer connects with our emotions and the lack of any clear expression in the mouth adds to the mystery. The stare is both intimidating and calming at the same time. Overall, it is a well painted and powerful image.

Interested in Judging?

The competition judges scored the entries according to the following criteria:

  • Imagination and originality
  • Overall impact of the finished piece
  • Technical challenges and use of material
  • Sticking to the brief: ‘Who am I?’

To register your interest in judging future competitions, please contact students@cobis.org.uk.