Abbot’s Lea School student wins art competition

16-year-old student, Leon, from Abbot’s Lea School has won a city-wide art competition after impressing the panel of judges with his incredible painting showcasing what Liverpool means to him.

The competition by Liverpool Heartbeat – a children’s charity committed to motivating and inspiring young people to live healthy, productive lifestyles – gives participating schools the chance to win a library of books and promises a gift to every single student taking part. 

While the library of books was awarded to Woolton High School – a neighbouring specialist school for students with complex social, emotional and mental health needs, Abbot’s Lea School won impressive three prizes, too!

This year’s brief asked young people to express what the heart of Liverpool means to them via a drawing, a photograph, a poem, a song, a story or a painting.

Abbot’s Lea School – an outstanding school providing the highest quality of specialist holistic education for students aged 3-19 living with autism and a range of associated communication, interaction, social imagination, sensory and learning differences – was keen to enter the competition in a bid to showcase the diverse creative abilities of its 272 students.

With so many wonderful entries, Abbot’s Lea staff had the difficult job choosing just three submissions to put forward. The specialist school selected Leon’s acrylic painting, which features iconic elements of the city including the Beatles, the Radio City tower, Liverpool FC, and the Superlambanana.

Staff also selected a poem by a 14-year-old student, Lexie. Her creative poem called ‘The Meaning of Liverpool’ describes in detail what the city means to her.

The Meaning of Liverpool

I can’t put it into words how this city makes me feel.

It’s a beautiful feeling, really, when I get a moment to myself to enjoy the scenery.

This city makes everything in it a work of art.

Be it a stormy day or a cloudless night, it’s perfect.

Trees and flowers, buildings and lights.

Holding your head up high, through rain and thunder.

Pushing through, even when you think you can’t. Even when it hurts to try.

But you can pull through.

And you relish in the golden sky above you in victory, as you think about how lucky you are to live in a city like this.

Marvelling at the giant birds that watch over us, as guardians of the land and sea.

This city is a tapestry of art and culture, with people of all different religions and races and backgrounds coming together to scream and cheer like mad-lads at a football game, happy chaos everywhere.

Lastly, a drawing by 10-year-old student, Jacob was put forward for the competition. His sketch of the key landmarks and famous people from Liverpool even included the legendary Church Street busker, Peter!

The competition received over 5000 entries and the judges selected Leon as the overall winner in the specialist school category. He will receive a bespoke illustration of himself as a superhero in front of the school created by Tim Quinn, Marvel editor and illustrator.

Lexie was awarded third prize, whilst Jacob won a special commendation prize. The rest of the school received a box of gifts including The Tom Murphy Liverpool Sculpture Trail map and 10 Liverpool statues comic books.

An awards ceremony is due to be held in the autumn at Bluecoat to honour those who entered and to showcase their hard work.

Mrs Ania Hildrey, the headteacher of Abbot’s Lea School, said: “I am absolutely overjoyed to have our students’ talents recognised in this city-wide competition! It was a really difficult decision to choose which pieces of art we put forward to Liverpool Heartbeat as we were overwhelmed with the entries from those age 3-19, with many showing exceptional artistic talents.

“Having considered every single piece, we felt Leon, Lexie and Jacob really captured the essence of the city and fulfilled the brief that was set by the competition. Their pieces resonated with us and were both joyful, profound and very moving.

“A huge congratulations to Leon for achieving first place – it is truly well deserved. His painting is simply breath-taking and the level of detail in the piece is impeccable. A massive well done to Lexie and Jacob too – their pieces really demonstrate their sheer talent and we are so proud of their achievements.

“To all others who entered – thank you and remember: never give up on yourself or others – there will be other competitions coming up!”

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