A nine-year-old pupil at a primary school in Woolwich has won the first ever Young London Print Prize.

Over 500 talented young artists from across Woolwich, Thamesmead, Plumstead and Kidbrooke took part in the prestigious art competition which was launched in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.

And young Angel, a Year 5 pupils who attends Foxfield Primary School in Woolwich, has been crowned the winner.

The talented nine-year-old won the Young London print Prize for her green and blue creation based on the theme of nature.

News Shopper:

Angle said: “When I found out I won, I couldn’t believe it! I am feeling fantastic. I chose blues and greens in my art work to match the theme of nature which I had chosen for my art piece.

"I am very excited to see myself in a newspaper.”

The overall winner was chosen by judges, A Level students studying at Woolwich Poly, Thomas Tallis and Welling School, who also chose their own individual favourites for display.

Another Foxfield pupil, Jesse, was left both "proud of myself and shocked" after winning one of these awards.

The Young London Print Prize was launched based on the idea that all young people are artists in their own right, and it aims to write a new future for art history across the capital.

Reflecting on the competition, one of the participating pupils said: “Making art makes me feel relieved, because if I’m in a bad mood I can get paper and a pencil and start drawing”.

Another said: “Making art makes feel happy because whatever’s going on around me I can just ignore it, think what’s in my head, and create it.”

Hailing the prize, Cllr Adel Khaireh, cabinet member for Culture, Communities and Equalities at Greenwich Council, said: “The contemporary art world currently doesn’t reflect the diversity of young people in London.

"To address this at a professional level, there has to be meaningful opportunities at a grassroots level.

News Shopper:

"So I’m delighted to see the Young London Print Prize champion young artists from a multitude of backgrounds and gives them the chance to create extraordinary art.”

With arts courses excluded from the English Baccalaureate and an 8% drop in Government spending per pupil across England from 2009-18, art teaching in schools is now under huge pressure.

This matters because there is clear evidence that students from low-income families who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to get a degree, twice as likely to volunteer and 20% more likely to vote as young adults.

Sophie Nicol, a teacher and Enrichment Lead at Plumcroft School in Plumstead, commented: “Children are desperate to engage in art. They are hungry for it.

"It's a need that we struggle to fulfil in our packed curriculum. This project has reminded us that we can and must do more art, and our school is a richer place artistically thanks to our involvement with the project.”

The Young London Print Prize is a collaboration between Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair and Boldface, with funding provided by Peabody and the Arts Council.

News Shopper:

Explaining its significance, John Lewis, Executive Director for Thamesmead at Peabody, said: “If we are going to support communities to live happier and wealthier lives, we need to inspire young people to take creative career paths.

"One in six jobs in London is now in the creative sector. This Prize has demonstrated there is huge appetite from young people to take part and the impact that creative activities can have on their aspirations and wellbeing.

"I think it’s never been more important to make culture and creativity a part of our daily lives.”

Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair is exhibiting online this year because of the pandemic from 12 November to 13 December.

Foxfields said once they had received all the children's artwork back, they would become part of a new art gallery within the school.