The ARTiculation 2019 Grand Prize was awarded to Zach in Year 12 for his extraordinarily poetic and moving talk on Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait aged 51/53, 1657-59. Zach chose the self-portrait of Rembrandt after he first saw on a trip to the National Museum of Scotland. In his presentation he explained how the contrast between darkness and light can be seen both in the painting and in Rembrandt’s life. Zach is the first student to win ARTiculation’s Discovery Challenge - for GCSE students - to then continue on and win the ARTiculation Prize.
ARTiculation is an internationally acclaimed initiative which champions students, aged between 16 – 19 regardless of background and experience, providing a platform on which students can develop their confidence and ability to express their opinions, thoughts and ideas through public speaking. ARTiculation’s ethos of looking, thinking and speaking underpins all of ARTiculation’s initiatives and allows students to flourish through public speaking about art. The competition, organised by the Roche Court Educational Trust and the NewArtCentre invites sixth-formers to speak for 10 minutes about one piece of art-work.
The competition included a regional round, held at the Whitworth in Manchester in January; and a grand final held at Clare College in the University of Cambridge on Friday 1 March 2019. Over 1,000 pupils had entered the completion from some of the best schools across England. The ten finalists spoke on everything from Pop Art to Bloomsbury to Performance Art.
The prize was adjudicated by Dr Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A. He commended Zach that his presentation set out the “relationship between the biography and the portraiture of Rembrandt very powerfully and showed great scholarship”. Among the finalists, Dr Hunt said that Zach’s presentation was “One of the closest readings of a work”.
Zach, who now plans to apply for university places to study Art History said: “The final in Cambridge was an amazing day for me. I couldn’t believe how far I’d come from giving my speech to my classmates to delivering it to a full lecture theatre in Clare College. I’ve gained so much confidence over the whole process in who I am and how I express things personal to my experience. As I stood there speaking in front of so many people, with my legs half shaking, I was overwhelmed with the joy of speaking from my heart. It was an honour to meet Tristram Hunt, such a prestigious figure in the art world, and when he announced my name as the winner I really couldn’t believe it. I was shocked to win in the end because the other talks were all so fascinating. I am deeply grateful to the Roche Court Educational Trust for giving me such an incredible opportunity. I am thankful also to Abigail Harrison Moore and Leeds University for supporting me so well, and of course to Mr McGinty my art teacher who inspires me daily, for pushing me and believing in me."
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