The Junior Signature Art Prize 2023 | The Original Online Art Gallery

The Junior Signature Art Prize 2023

On Thursday 23rd February 2023, 22 young artists from 7 of the Aldridge Foundation schools arrived at the Bankside Hotel for an art filled day that culminated in the prize giving ceremony which saw 5 artists receive the prestigious title of being the Junior Signature Art Prize winner for their category.

The students arrived in London early in the day and headed straight to the Tate Modern where they visited the Turbine Hall's current installation by Cecilia Vicuña. They then travelled to the Bankside Hotel where they were received by current artist in residence Luke M Walker. Luke held a discussion with the students who were able to hear about his journey as a professional artist and gain an insight into his current project 'Re-imaging the Grand Thames Panorama'. 


"The reason I entered (the Junior Prize) was so people can know who I am and what I'm capable of doing. I wanted to stop hiding behind my shadow and show my masterpiece! I couldn't believe I'd been shortlisted and when I found out I was the Winner of the Textiles & Sculpture category, I saw and started planning my future." Abigail Birney | Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio

"I am so proud to say I won the photography category and the overall prize of an amazing opportunity of an internship with @degreeart - I cannot begin to explain the exhilarating feeling of not only being shortlisted but winning the competition and I am truly honoured." "The Junior Prize provides so many opportunities for young artists - not only the validation and belief that students can achieve but also the confidence to thrive, which is important to creative students like me as we are often told to focus on more “important” subjects such as English and Maths which is simply not true. I am so thankful for this title and cannot tell you how much today has influenced me as an artist along with the opportunity to come down to London to see a variety of amazing artworks and talk to some inspiring artists." Abigail Birney | Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio

"Each year we look forward with great excitement to the Junior edition of the Signature Art Prize and the 2023 cohort not only lived up to but surpassed our expectations. We would like to extend our congratulations not only to the winners, finalists and shortlist but also to each and every artist that applied as this is an achievement in itself. The quality of the artwork and confidence of the artists to express their concepts is of a standard that far exceeds the age of the students. The Aldridge Foundation, its teaching staff and students are truly one of a kind and we are honoured to be able to work with you all." Elinor Olisa, Co-Founder of and the Signature Art Prize

Luke discussing his residency with the students

This was followed by a delicious lunch in the Art Yard over which the students heard from Gallery Co-Founders Elinor Olisa and Isobel Beauchamp bout preparing for a career in the creative industries. The students then returned to the Tate for a visit to the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms.

Then it was time for the main event - the Junior Signature Art Prize Gala. Our esteemed panel of judges, including Aldridge Foundation patron Lady Carol Aldridge, Sarah Whipp and Peter Gabriel of Callsign and Bankside Hotel's General Manager Philip Steiner, selected the 5 winners who we are delighted to share with you below!

The Junior Signature Art Prize is made possible by the support of Bankside Hotel, Callsign and Artellite.



Calissa Chapple | Brighton Aldridge Community Academy

Dead and Buried

This piece is one very dear to me as it was very exhausting to complete... but overall I love so much the composition and textures which I have included. I made this using a pot of ink, a dip pen and carefully sized paper to suit the composition, and I have chosen to include one of my favourite singers, 'Nik Fiend', as I just love the way that he presents himself. I liked the idea of him being all sprawled out and messy all over the floor, being bombarded with so much chaos and so I decided my idea needed to be put on paper.



Alexandra Pasarica | Duke’s Aldridge Academy


My favourite thing about this picture is its simplicity. I like the way that the coloured pencil stands out. I like traditional drawing techniques. However, I am always interested in learning about different styles and forms of art.

£325.- request to purchase


William Towler | Darwen Aldridge Community Academy


The piece was made because I enjoyed the game, Hollow Knight. Our theme for year 11 was ‘Identity’, and whilst I was dealing with mental health issues, I never liked expressing myself in art. I made the piece was made because I wanted to make it, and the idea that art must have a meaning to be worth something should never be the case, otherwise, art would always drag us back into reality, something which I believe art was made to help us escape from.



Alex Blas | UTC@MediaCityUK

Tokyo Japan Temple

This is what the title says that it is the Tokyo Japan Temple. I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the temple that I have drawn here is the symbol of our faith. We see it as the House of the Lord and where we perform what are called saving ordinances so that we can live with God again our Father in Heaven. The temple is to help strengthen our spirits, give hope, serve, love and do our Father's work, overall changing us into better individuals and who God wants us to be. I thought I'd do the Japan temple after Ian Murphy with his fine art around Japanese/Chinese Pagodas.



Daniella .J. Tugume
| Duke’s Aldridge Academy

Her Freedom

As a black person in the UK, I often find it hard to get opportunities and through my art piece, I want to portray gender discrimination that not only takes place in the UK but also around the world. Women are given the least opportunities because they are seen as inferior, menial and feeble. For example; how many female prime ministers has the UK had over the years? Only 3 of all the 79. This shows how desensitized and callous we've become because of the male patriarchal dominance in society today. The vibrant colours on the turban represent the sovereignty that every woman should proudly have. I want to help stop gender discrimination and also this is in honour of Mahsa Amini.



Michelle Jasmin Komenda
| Kensington Aldridge Academy

The Human Body in Colour

I was inspired to create this piece after visiting the In The Black Fantastic exhibition in London, where I was introduced to the work of Sedrick Chisom for the first time - more specifically The Hero of Dionysus Emerged Inching Through Umbrage (2020) - who was able to influence me with his use of colour and focus on the human figure in his pieces. My intent for this artwork was to honour the human body and allow it to be looked at from a different light.



Elliot Hine | Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio


I made this piece in a graphic art lesson with the theme of a coffee company in mind I used photo montage to create and develop my piece I wanted to mix victorian decor with modern elements like the coffee cup.



Eva Davies | UTC@MediaCityUK

Inside the Disguise

I wanted to show the theme of disguise in my image. I took two people and distorted them until they were unrecognisable.



Pip Kosyl
| Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio

A Series of Unfortunate Events, Part 2

For this particular project, I chose to retell one of my favourite books, that being Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning". I adore this book series, but knew I wouldn't be able to create an image for each of the thirteen books. And so, I chose to focus on the first. I split the story up into six images, with this one (Part 2) portraying the moment the Baudelaire siblings arrive at the villainous Count Olaf's house. I took visual inspiration from the illustrator Saul Bass, but also decided to include plenty of detail, as an ode to the book's illustrator, Brett Helquist.



Aaron Lynch | UTC@MediaCityUK

Abstract Orangutan

I made this for my A level I'm doing about making things for a fictional zoo being built in Manchester. I drew out the outline with paper and pen and scanned it into illustrator I traced the lines with the pen tool making the lines thick and changing the uniform to width profile one. This makes the lines look sleek and sharp making them stand out against the colours added later, finishing with a light orange background.



Alisha Dearn | Darwen Aldridge Community Academy

Searching the Web

The web is to represent the girl trying to hide behind her layers, so she doesn’t fully reveal herself to society. As she would be feeling like she is losing her sense of security and is trying to use every part of herself, in this case, her eye, to prevent that from happening, this is so she can keep herself and her layers together. I find this piece to be intriguing and has so many perceptions towards it as to what the meaning is behind it, and to help attribute to what depression can feel like, to create a better understanding so that it will help society.



Abigail Birney
| Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio

Thé Fantaisie

I created this piece for a college project in which we were tasked to create a design for a made-up coffee brand. I decided I would incorporate my own fantasy theme using my own art style and original ideas. I had always been fascinated with the idea of medieval dresses and just the aesthetic in general, so I went out of my way to buy a dress to fit the theme and pitched out a suitable location to shoot in. To additionally add to the fantasy theme, I decided to name my piece ‘Thé Fantaisie’ which translates to  ‘Fantastic Tea’ in French because I strongly correlate France as a place of magic.




James Maynard
| Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio


Falling' is based on the notion of flaws and incompetence. Fear, terror, and anxiety that comes out of losing grip over significant things the feeling of falling may represent a sense of helplessness.



Nusaybah Yousaf
| Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio

Odd One Out

I created this piece to be part of a series during my A Level 'Collections' project, for that project I was going for the collections of others' memories and how they felt about themselves back then and how they wished they could change things. They also compared how they were back then to how they were now whilst whiting out anyone else in the image, making them appear to be the 'Odd one out' as the title of the piece makes clear. By removing the other subjects in the photograph and singling out the main subject, the audience is forced to recognise the 'odd one out' in the image. We are pushed to explore our own memories and that daunting feeling of being the 'odd one out.'

£325 - request to purchase


Mark Nemeth
| UTC@MediaCityUK

Root of The Pining Tree

This photo was taken in September 2021 in the Highlands of Scotland. During my week-long visit to Scotland, I took a few pictures to capture the environment and tradition. This picture in particular is about a wishing tree 'embarked' with coins. As we walked through the forest I saw this one with a glimmer of sunlight glancing through the empty spaces of the branches behind. and I quickly snapped a

photo. As there were many trees around, I took this one in particular due to the singular aspect of the story that's displayed here and the cascade of trees with sunlight shining through in the background.



Jake Fradley
| UTC@MediaCityUK


Consequence is a short mockumentary film centred around the theme of identity. The protagonist, Owen Webb, tells the audience how his actions caused him to inadvertently kill his own grandfather and how this has affected him mentally. I worked as the co-scriptwriter, director, cinematographer, main actor and editor of this film.

£325 - request to purchase



Louis Barker
| UTC@MediaCityUK


Apathy is a film about mental health. I like to think the film is incredibly interpretive as it follows our main character, Riley as they struggle with their mental health, through trauma as a child that has hurt them as an adult leading them to do inhumane things such as murder. The film feels almost not real, like a dream sequence as we see the world through Riley's perspective, simple but beautiful until reality hits them with what they have done.

£325 - request to purchase



Hiway Polat | Duke's Aldridge Academy


I had been researching architecture in different countries and liked the style of Japanese and Chinese buildings, especially the old traditional buildings made of wood. I had the idea to try to make a 3D building in this style. I started to experiment with a simple card technique and it just started to grow, I kept adding layers to build it up and increase the small details to show the many different types of balconies and railings on the buildings. I wanted to keep the finish rough to show the influence of the original wooden houses.

£325 - Request to purchase


Jack Wilding | Darwen Aldridge Community Academy


This piece is an expression of the inner turmoil we all face. At some angles, we may appear ordinary and fine, yet from another, you might be able to see the strain, stress and disorder that could be mere moments away that can cause us to become unravelled. I am really proud of this piece of work as I was focusing on mental health and looked at the work of Adam Riches who does amazing portraits in scribble for inspiration. I wanted to emulate his work in a different medium and decided to try free machine embroidery. This piece was actually my first attempt, and I am impressed with how it turned out. The image clearly shows a controlled, expressionless face that explodes into chaos.



Mia Counsell
| Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio

Inner Sanctuary 1

I chose to create this piece in order to express the beauty of the inner sanctuary. Typically, the initial reaction of the public towards the inner mechanisms of the body is that it appears to be grotesque, an attitude of ignorance to the true intricacies of the human form and how it not only gives us life but also our own unique form. Each body can be both modified and melded into a person’s individual features which can have both negative and positive internal effects. The piece creates an abstract visual effect mirroring both the beauty and horrors of the human form and its alteration.




Abigail Hawkins
| Darwen Aldridge Community Academy

Reincarnating Alice

Flaws can be described as many different things, however, I chose to look at them in the way that society expects from women. I explored aspects such as social media and mental health but wanted to

conclude with a piece of work based on a protest against everything I had to explore within my work. The blazer I had created included words and phrases that showed how women especially were expected to act, speak and look a certain way. I then photographed a female modelling this jacket as if she was protesting and fighting against this. When designing and developing the blazer I took inspiration from the V&A exhibition book ‘Alice: Curious & Curiouser ‘ which discussed many versions of Alice from ‘Alice in Wonderland’. I wanted to create my own version of Alice, therefore designed the blazer based on her appearance within the story.



Tamta Giorgadze
| Kensington Aldridge Academy


I created this work in December 2022, against the background of increased violations of women's rights and violence in the world. Even in the 21st century, the violation of women's rights and violence has not decreased but rather increased, which is a very disturbing and shocking factor. My work focuses on women who are victims of domestic violence and harassment, who do not have freedom of speech, the right to express their opinion, the right to express their desire, or the opportunity to ask for help. When you look at the artwork, you can see the lips and the usual letters on them, but if you look closely in one part, you will notice that the words 'HELP' appear from the letters. It is with this part that I am trying to convey the situation of that woman, who tries to secretly inform us in various ways that she needs help – help to survive, help for life, help for freedom.


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