It was a blissful evening of astonishing art, music and film, bringing together the magnificent talent that Exeter students possess. Set in the cafe of Queen’s building on a Wednesday evening; the atmosphere was one of tranquility and buzzing creativity. The vast windows in Queen’s provided the perfect setting for the art to be seen, making one feel that they had stepped into The Louvre in Paris.
The award was created in the 1970s by John Paddon’s parents. John and his wife, Ann Paddon then kept the award going in memory of John’s mother, Betty. It is a cross arts competition funded by ex alumnus and supporters, Ann and John Paddon that is growing from strength to strength.
The night began with drinks and nibbles, featuring exquisite Italian brushetta that can quench any artists
hunger. Eva Lily, the enthuasistic student coordinator then sat us down in a half-moon circle, allowing an engaged relationship between the artist and the audience.
There were seven members on the shortlist running for the award, which opened in January and closed in March. The theme of the award this year was ‘Seasons on Campus’. Sally Wood opened the theme in an inspiring manner, reading aloud a creative writing piece called “Bobble Hats”. The piece documented the relatable stresses of deadline season, resembling a Ted Hughes poem with her panther imagery.
The theme of the award this year was ‘Seasons on Campus’
Moving swiftly from writing to artwork, Isha Gurang then showcased her visual piece, “Deadline Season 2018”, which featured a lifesize size of a window with a figure looking out made of a collage of papier mache and Exepose magazines with beautiful white trees.
Annabel Record then read out her own creative writing, called “The Lake”, which documented three friends over four seasons in Oxford and Exeter, showing how seasons affect relationships. It was a piece of love, regret and melancholy.
Rebbecca Prince illuminated our ears with her beautiful piano piece, “Another Turn”; the soft chords allowing us to visualise St Luke’s on a frosty, peaceful morning. With her piece of writing, “Rapping on the Glass”, Katie Loader showed us vividly what it is like to suffer in winter months.
Despite Amy Mellows not being there, her film “The Winged Seeds” explored the cyclical nature of seasons at university, a meditative piece inspired by Wordsworth, Shelley and Keats with nature imagery. Ellen Lesser then showcased her wonderful creative writing piece, “A Daffodil by Any Other Name”, based on friendship and Ellie Clements closed the evening showing her painting in water colour and black ink of “St Luke’s in Spring”.
The award was then judged by John Paddon, Dr Sam North, who is a Creative Writing tutor and author of eight novels and Melina Thompson, who is the president of the Art Society. It was a difficult decision but they decided to provide Sally Wood and Rebecca Prince with third prize, Isha Gurand in second place and Amy Mellows winning a hundred and seventy five pounds with her beautiful short film.
Overall, it was a wonderful evening of zen, wine and wonderful artwork that would make Picasso proud.