The winning image entry for Britain in the Columban Schools Competition, was submitted by Esther Ojobaro, of St Paul’s Academy, London.
Esther said: “In the painting I have created, I have merged together the faces of individuals of different ethnicities. I have done this to show that we shouldn’t judge one another based on their race.”
Nick Benson, news editor of The Catholic Universe and a judge for the competition, said: “Esther’s very impressive artwork not only showcases her talent as a painter, it also showcases the ever-important message that ‘we are equal’.
“Her idea of merging different facial features of individuals of different ethnicities together to make one face representing a multi-cultural society shows that although we all have differences, we all have a shared humanity and are all equal, as we are created in God’s image.
“The use of a range of vivid background colours, such as reds, yellows, greens, blues and pinks, is striking and draws attention to how many differences being brought together can create something so beautiful.’
Dior Knorr, Holy Cross, New Malden, was awarded second place for her stunning artwork of two babies in the womb.
Dior said: “The beginning of life. We are brothers and sisters so why should one be treated differently?”
Ruth Gledhill, of The Tablet, who was a judge for the competition, said: “Such a strong image, taking the Catholic concept of ‘life’ into the arena of race, and really slamming it home to the viewer in the way that images such as this can sometimes do, more powerfully even than words.”
Hirah Ahsan, St Augustine’s, Redditch, was awarded joint third place for her image, entitled ‘A World held Together.’
“The umbrella is the world and holding the umbrella are people of different races. They are shielded from the negativity because they accept one and another. The words ‘anger’, ‘pain’, hate’, ‘manipulation’, ‘violence’ and ‘fear’ are shown as the rain,” she said.
“The two buildings either side full of hearts represent high hope for a better world as they are two tall buildings.”
One judge said: “A lovely hopeful image of the desire for love, peace and hope.”
Lilly Heryng, Holy Cross, New Malden, was awarded joint third place for her work, called ‘The Pigmentation of Skin.’
“I created a conceptualism art work by layering newspaper and painting over it with an abstract painting of the face of the start of the racism movement, George Floyd,” she said.
“It can be inferred many ways but it is up to the viewers’ imagination and interpretation. From my point of view it is the media sharing the damage done to the world and whatever colour you are, you should be able to live a full life the same.
“Here Floyd is multi-coloured as it is shows the damages done just by what people see, but the colours are what lies underneath.
“Our lives are based on the media; without it, the world would still be blind to just the colours of the skin but if there was no set race that was superior, we’d all be colourful.
“This painting is just a reminder of what we a the world have done, just by our skin colours.“
Ruth Gledhill, of The Tablet, said: “An intricate and complex piece of work that merits in-depth reflection. It challenges the viewer to analyse their own perceptions of what our society has become, and has yet to become.”