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Grandpa Jim’s face steals the show for student artist

Grandpa Jim’s face steals the show for student artist

A Strathallan student has been named top Senior Artist in the North by the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) after submitting a mask she created of her grandfather Jim.

The mask, created by Strathallan pupil Topaz W, was voted ‘best in show’ in the prestigious 2021 RSA Schools Art Awards.

Delighted to have been named Senior North Winner, Topaz said, “I’m thrilled the judges like my piece, it means more to me than I think they can imagine. The mask is based on my Grandpa Jim who I am very close to. He is 84 years old and still works on his farm. I wanted to capture the essence of the man both inside and out. I used different colours and textures of materials to describe his distinctive skin tones and lived in complexion. I added a variety of stitching techniques to further enhance details such as blemishes and wrinkles.

“Grandpa Jim is such a fun-loving person and his expression in this piece captures the funny side of his personality. Gaining recognition for this piece of work has been totally unexpected and it’s fantastic to be appreciated for my hard work during the Spring lockdown. I tried to think outside the box but also challenge myself by only using materials and resources that I was able to source at home. I’m looking to develop this series of work at school and do other faces that mean something to me.”

Another Strathallan student, Woody L, placed Highly Commended in the Senior category of the national competition, making him one of a handful of Strathallan students to achieve this great honour.

Head of Art at Strathallan, Frank Glancy, said, “It is brilliant to see our students recognised for their hard work. To be recognised on the national level by the RSA is an incredible feat, and with over 600 entries this year, we are extremely proud of Topaz and Woody for creating such outstanding work.”

Strathallan has a history of artistic success, in 2019 former pupil Flora Wilson picked up the National Senior Award in the RSA Schools Award and in 2020, former pupil Muna Nweke, who came Highly Commended in the competition, landed himself with offers from 10 of the top Art schools in the world.


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