Royal Wootton Bassett Academy student wins prestigious art competition

By Barrie Hudson - 30 March 2022

  • Teacher Sophie Staniforth holding the Quality Mark award for Holocaust Education

    Teacher Sophie Staniforth holding the Quality Mark award for Holocaust Education

A Year 7 Student from Royal Wootton Bassett Academy is the Key Stage 3 winner of the UCL (University College London) Leon Greenman Art Competition.

  • Olivia's winning art

    Olivia's winning art

Leon Greenman OBE was an Auschwitz survivor and anti-fascism campaigner, and the national art competition was launched to mark the anniversary of his death in 2008.
The judges were impressed by the depth of emotion and understanding in the pieces submitted, including that of the winner from Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, Olivia.
A spokesperson said: “We asked students to send in their artwork inspired by the Holocaust Memorial Day theme of ‘One Day’ and the life of Leon Greenman.
“We were humbled and moved by the many profound and accomplished pieces of art produced by students in schools across the country in response to our competition. Every original piece received has inspired us."
Olivia’s piece spoke directly to the theme, centring Leon’s image in a clock which reinforced the importance of the single moment which led to him being a prisoner in Auschwitz and his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. Olivia then chose to place a message of hope in the foreground, drawing on words from Leon’s testimony as an instruction to the viewer, referencing Leon’s legacy in Holocaust education and in protesting and combating the politics of the Far Right.
Other pieces drew on the central importance of the Greenman family to Leon’s story with some entries looking to instil a sense of fear and foreboding in their artwork.
Olivia’s piece features in a short film made to mark Leon Greenman’s death and a blog post highlighting judges' reflections on the piece.
Ruth Anne Lenga, a close friend of Leon, said: “I am truly inspired by these powerful art pieces. They demonstrate a depth of understanding of the trauma Leon experienced both during and after the Holocaust. Congratulations to all those who entered this challenge. Leon, who was a dear friend of mine, would have been deeply moved by these students’ creative efforts.”
Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, part of Royal Wootton Bassett Academy Trust, has a long history of working with the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education. The academy was one of the original Beacon Schools, and in January was the first school in the country to be reaccredited with the prestigious UCL Quality Mark for work with Holocaust Education.
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