Esther Ojobaro of St Paul’s Academy in London came first with her “impressive” painting, where, in her words, she “merged together the faces of individuals of different ethnicities and I did this to show that we shouldn’t judge one another based on race.”
The judges felt her message of ‘WE ARE EQUAL’ was “simple, but graphically portrayed”. It stressed how “although we may all have our differences this does not make any one of us any better or any worse than our neighbours.” One judge commended her use of colour and “the unity implied”. Another felt her, “very impressive artwork not only showcases Esther’s talent as a painter, it also showcases the ever-important message that ‘we are equal’.”
Second place was Dior Knorr of Holy Cross School in New Malden. One judge described her ‘Two in a womb’ artwork as, “a strong image, taking the Catholic concept of ‘life’ into the arena of race, and really slamming it home to the viewer in the way that images such as this can sometimes do more powerfully even than words.” Accompanying her piece Dior writes, ‘The beginning of life. We are brothers and sisters so why should one be treated differently?’
Joint third was Lilly Heryng, also of Holy Cross School in New Malden, who, “created a conceptualism artwork by layering newspaper and painting over it an abstract image of the face of George Floyd”. This was the man whose controversial death last year spurred the Black Lives Matter movement.
In her artwork, ‘The pigmentation of skin’, Floyd is multi-coloured, with many skin colours, “and it shows the damage done just by what people see”. One judge described this as, “an intricate and complex piece of work that merits in-depth reflection and challenges the viewer to analyse their own perceptions of what our society has become and has yet to become.”
The other third place winner was Hirah Ahsan of St Augustine’s School in Redditch. In her painting, ‘A world held together’ she explains: “The umbrella is the world and holding the umbrella are people of different races. They are shielded from the negativity because they accept one another. The words ‘anger’, ‘pain’, ‘hate’, ‘manipulation’, ‘violence’ and ‘fear’ are shown as the rain. Two buildings either side are full of hearts, representing high hopes for a better world as they are two tall buildings.”