Write on Art: The Winners 2021

  • 2 September 2021

Together with Art UK the Paul Mellon Centre is pleased to announce the winners of the fourth annual Write on Art prize.

Rising above another academic year disrupted by the pandemic, over two hundred students persevered to write and submit an entry to this year's competition in time for the June deadline. In August, the four judges – artist and academic Lubaina Himid; author and broadcaster Emma Dabiri; broadcaster and art critic Alastair Sooke; and Iwona Blazwick, Director of the Whitechapel Gallery – selected the winners and runners up after some lively discussion around what made for a great art essay from their differing artistic and critical perspectives.

The judges were particularly struck by the originality of this year's winning entrants, with Iwona Blazwick commenting: 'The subjective readings contributed by our essayists were really impressive – some of the essays were prose works in their own right. They demonstrated a high degree of imagination and confidence in using art as a springboard for creative writing. Surprising and exciting!' This is particularly evident in the first-place winners in both categories, who daringly blend their analysis and research into essays that speak from unique points of view.

The winners and runners up of this year's competition are as follows:

Years 12 and 13

First place: Aoife Hogan on Children and Chalked Wall 3 by Joan Eardley
Second place: Hanifah Smith on All Will Be Forgotten by Chris Wilson

Runner up: Jasmine Donaldson on Melanie and Me Swimming by Michael Andrews
Runner up: Maisie Fraser on We Are Making a New World by Paul Nash
Runner up: Penelope Ogieriakhi on Jazz by Anthony Frost

Shortlisted: Anna Townend, Katie Swain, Abigail Jones, Toby Berryman and Nephele Mylona

Years 10 and 11

First place: Variaam Tratt on Preserve 'Beauty' by Anya Gallaccio
Second place: Hannah Bugeja on Lilith by John Collier

Runner up: Taya Minchington on Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene by Simeon Solomon
Runner up: Ella Male on Nameless and Friendless by Emily Mary Osborn
Runner up: Ava Winter on 1939 by Hans Feibusch

Shortlisted: Lily Whitelock, Alisha Sri-Ram, Jocelyn Tin, Keira Magee, Fayo Idowu and Satya Patel

The winning students in each category receive £500; the second-placed students, £200; and each of the runners up receive £100. The winning essays can be read online here.

Art UK and the Paul Mellon Centre launched the Write on Art prize in 2017 to encourage a greater interest in art and art history at schools. Submissions for the 2021/2022 prize – the fifth year of the competition – will open in November 2021.