A TALENTED youngster is in the frame for a bright future after enjoying success in a top art competition.
Jessica Clark, from Paisley, was one of just 10 people from more than 1,600 entrants who made it through to the final of the Young Brits At Art competition
Organised by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the contest was designed to encourage young people aged up to 19 to explore their own identity and background.
Youngsters were encouraged to use self-portraiture or pictures to tell their own story about who they are, their communities, their differences, diversity and what makes them tick.
Jessica, who is a pupil at Gleniffer High School, tapped into her very personal experiences of being ill to create a piece called A Life Full Of Sickness.
After being named in the competition’s top 10 at a ceremony in London’s Southbank Centre, 12-year-old Jessica said: “My art teacher told us about the competition and told us to think very carefully about things that we felt were important.
“Well, I don’t like being ill and I don’t know anyone who does, so I wanted to raise that as a topic, especially when we hear of things like swine flu and all the health issues in the world today.
“Compared to so many other countries, we are very lucky with the way that we can get treatment. When you are ill, you are at your most vulnerable.
“This is the very first time that I’ve ever won anything, so hearing my name called out at the awards ceremony was really exciting.
“I had no idea that I was going to be in the top 10. I don’t know if art will be a career choice for me. I love music as well and my school is very supportive.”
Jessica’s proud art teacher David Dunlop is full of praise for the talented youngster.
He said: “Jessica is quite a quiet girl and she is very modest. She was so shocked to do so well in this competition because there was a lot of great work done in our class by the pupils.
“The work she submitted for the competition is meaningful and is quite personal to her. It is a mixed media piece on how she hates being ill.
“I asked the children to look at something they loved or hated about Britain and she used this idea to get rid of her demons.
“The funny thing is that she’s a very happy girl – but her piece is bleak!”
Jessica used painting, print and pencil work to create an entry that the competition judges really warmed to.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission launched the competition hot on the heels of new research it carried out earlier this year which revealed there has been a remarkable shift in the cultural make up of today’s youth.
The report indicated that the percentage of young people from ethnic minority backgrounds is on the rise, as is the number of young people from families with mixed heritage.
Morag Alexander, who is commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland, said: “Not only was the standard of work exceptionally high, the maturity of the young people shown was as inspiring as it was impressive.”