News | Wednesday, 20th June 2012

Fab five win Fine Art awards

Leonard James Little, Ken Billany and Alumni Awards announced

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FIVE students from the Faculty of Art and Design received prizes at the Fine Arts awards evening last week.

Daniel McMillan took home the £500 Leonard James Little Fine Art Prize for his sculptural work, as chosen by Pavel Pys, from Yorkshire’s Henry Moore Institute.

Pavel said: “Daniel’s piece investigates a sculptural language whereby he takes an everyday object and questions its emotive language and relevance to his life as a student. Sculpture has such a rich history that to make something interesting is really quite difficult – this piece shows you can achieve something really strong.”

The piece was made from the noticeboards more commonly used to relay messages to students round the University, and had a strongly temporal quality, with each board to be returned to its original home once the exhibition has ended.

"Success and failure"

“It is quite emotional to think about all the things put up there and the failures and successes of being a student,” said Pavel.

Daniel, who is 22 and is originally from Belfast, said he was originally inspired by looking at the parallels between the material fragments in a studio and the art objects that came out as a product of the studio.

He now plans to take on a studio in Befast over summer before returning to Manchester, and said: “I was very humbled to be chosen.”

The annual award is give in memory of Leonard James Little, who studied art at the University, and who died in August 2010 following a stroke.

Leonard’s sister, Helena Stubbings, attended the awards along with her husband Clive, and her mother, Pauline Little. She said: “I’m really pleased. We’re very happy that Daniel has enjoyed his three years here.”

Ken Billany Prize

The Ken Billany Painting Prize was split between three students, who received £100 each. The winners were Sara-Jane Avery, Frederico Garcia Trujillo and Amang Mardokhy.

Sara, who is 21 and from Newcastle, won for her sculpture based on a child’s unconscious doodling. She said: “I’m really happy – I didn’t expect it at all.”

Frederico, who is 24 and from the Canary Islands, is studying in Manchester as part of the Erasmus scheme. He said: “It’s really important to me because it’s my first year here in England and I feel so happy.”

Committed to art

The Alumni Award was presented to Rafal Topolewski by Elizabeth Murphy of Liverpool’s Royal Standard gallery.

The 29 year-old from Grudzadz, in Poland, was selling small versions of his paintings for £6.08 – equivalent to an hour’s minimum wage payment.

He said: “The idea came from anxiety about finishing University and not knowing exactly what kind of future was waiting. If you are really committed to art you have to make that your future, even if it means living on the minimum wage.”

The awards were in addition to the £6,000 bursary already received by another student, Alice Smith, from the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts.

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