Following her selection as winner of the ARTiculation Prize 2023 Regional Heat in Milton Keynes in February, Poppy (S) went to the Regional Final at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford last week and delivered an “extraordinary” presentation.
The ARTiculation Prize is an annual art history competition run by the National Gallery that invites Sixth Form pupils to deliver a ten-minute presentation to an audience about a work of art, artefact, or architecture of their choice. Over 1000 young people compete annually in regional heats and finals held in museums and galleries across England.
Poppy (S) was selected to represent Oundle School, and chose to discuss a photograph by the British photographer Don McCullin, titled “A homeless drunk man on Brick Lane 1971” which she first saw when visiting The Art of Seeing exhibition at Tate Liverpool. A photograph was an unusual choice to make, but she felt that as a work of photo realism, its timeless relevance offered an opportunity to link it to contemporary societal realities that require our attention. In addition to the subject matter, she made a visual analysis, and placed it in an art historical context that included McCullin’s pop art contemporaries and the social realist paintings of Walter Sickert.
At the Regional Final in Oxford, the adjudicator Dr Jim Harris congratulated Poppy for “making us look at McCullin’s work in a way that meant we could not then look away but must bear witness”. He commended Poppy for her juxtaposition of images and the way she helped the viewer understand McCullin’s processes and his art, describing Poppy’s presentation as “helpful and extraordinary”.
In an exceptionally competitive field of nine schools, Poppy was awarded a commendable third place, and narrowly missed out being in the final at the National Gallery next month.
Poppy is now part of the ARTiculation Alumni Network, a programme that find opportunities for young people to gain work experience, and join training and mentoring schemes.