8 January 2018

Inspired by a trip to New York last year, Ciara Chengo based her winning artwork on her love of actress, fashion icon, and philanthropist Audrey Hepburn.  As we know, Audrey’s most iconic role was in Breakfast at Tiffany's where she famously wore an elegant black dress, a multi-strand pearl necklace, and held a cigarette at the end of a long cigarette holder - this striking scene proved to be the key inspiration for Ciara and is the main theme running through her work. Ciara tells me how she felt like she was “in the movies” on the New York trip and that she wanted to recreate that ambience, mood and atmosphere in her work. We think you will agree with us, when we say that Ciara has captured the very essence of Audrey’s beauty, elegance and grace in her amazing artwork and is a very worthy winner of the coveted Headteacher’s Art Prize this year. Up against some very strong competition from other fabulous entries, Ciara's was the one which caught Mr Dumican's eye for its originality, freshness and attention to detail.

Back at home in the UK, Ciara found further inspiration through Australian novelist Megan Hess’s book, ‘New York through a Fashion Eye’. In it, she identified the perfect photograph, the perfect scene, in fact, the perfect starting point. The piece evolved over many hours of painstaking and dedicated design, (approximately 15 in total!) all the while listening to ideas from other people, tweaking and adapting things, until she was satisfied with the final composition.

Since leaving us in the summer to go to Winstanley College, Ciara’s plans have changed slightly, though her mind is still very firmly set on a place at Oxbridge to study Law, with a career as a barrister specialising in family medical negligence to follow. A naturally unpretentious and modest young lady, she had this to say when asked how she felt when hearing the news that she was the recipient of this year’s award, “I now believe in myself more and I know that I can do anything I set my mind to really. Just because I live in Wigan doesn’t mean that I can’t do anything with my life.”

As always, Ciara has the backing of her mum, who is a constant source of advice, support and guidance. She sums up her pride in her daughter very aptly with these words, “I am extremely proud of Ciara, she works tirelessly to achieve the standards that she does. I hope with all of my heart she achieves her ambitions of becoming a barrister.” 

We left the final words of this article to Ciara herself who had this to say, “I feel very privileged to have a piece of my artwork displayed in Mr Dumican’s office. I would like to thank not only the art department, but the school as a whole, for everything it has done for me, helping me to become the person that I am today.”