A gathering of clay cats. Cars pouring out of a shiny silver tap. A shadow of a ballerina, silhouetted against the English sky, and a huge, goggling pair of wide, unblinking eyes.
These were just a few of the innovative designs proposed by the young artists of London for the Mayor of London's Fourth Plinth Schools Awards 2014, supported by Cass Art to mark the beginning of an ongoing art education partnership.
The annual competition was judged by Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller, the famous contemporary artist known for his Battle of Ogreave (2001), a reenactment of the UK Miner's Strike in 1984. Deller was a Trustee of the Tate between 2007 and 2011, and says that the Fourth Plinth Schools Awards proves that "Picasso was right when he said: 'Every child is an artist, the problem is to remain an artist once we grow up'."
Pictured Above: India Bolger, winner of age 8-11 category, with artist Jeremy Deller
The competition received a record-breaking 1,700 submissions this year from schools across the capital.
Students from 31 London Boroughs got their creative caps on to draw, paint and sculpt imaginary designs for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, which currently holds the enormous blue cockerel Hahn/Cock by Katharina Fritsch.
A winning design was chosen from each Borough, and several special mentions made because of the high calibre of artwork the judges had to choose from. For the first time this year, teacher awards were also given in the form of £100 vouchers to spend at Cass Art.
The three overall winners from each age category were:
Aged 5-7, Sean Patiag from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, for his colourful model of Usain Bolt
Aged 8-11, India Bolger from Our Lady of Victories RC Primary School for her drawing of staring eyes
Aged 12-15, Philippa Prince from The Grey Coat Hospital School for her real life green garden
All the winning students came together for the awards ceremony, where they were each given a Cass Art goodie bag full of artistic prizes.
After coming top in the age 8-11 category for her amusing and inspired sketch of a pair of giant eyes, we caught up with India Bolger to ask her about the competition. Cheekily titled “I’m watching YOU!”, her lively penned eyes balanced high atop the plinth, keeping watch over the Londoners below.
Congratulations India, on winning an award in the Fourth Plinth competition! Firstly, could you describe where your idea came from?
First I thought of glasses, but I wanted to draw glasses from an angle. This was tricky thought, so I thought instead of huge eyes, like a cartoon.
What was the best part of being in the competition?
Going to the awards and seeing my picture up on the wall.
Do you spend a lot of time making art at home?
I sometimes do art work at home, but the competiton has definitely inspired me to do more now.
What was your favourite thing you got in your Cass Art goodie bag?
The paints. I like painting with acrylics.
All of the winning entries will be on display at London’s City Hall until 30th June 2014, so do support London's students and go and see it.
The extraordinary range of designs cover a variety of themes and prove that students – the artists of our future – truly understand that public art can act as a means of limitless expression.
Through humour, beauty and topical issues such as globalisation, technology and celebrity culture, the children of London have once again embraced a creative use of art materials and a broad knowledge of what it means to be a Londoner.
Cass Art will proudly partner with the Fourth Plinth Schools Awards for the forseeable future.
Read our previous blog about the Fourth Plinth School Awards here.