Sheffield's Astrea Academy pupils sweep top spots in city art competition

Talented artists at Astrea Academy have swept first and second spots in a competition to design a piece of street art reflecting the culture and industrial heritage of Sheffield.

By diana stannard
Thursday, 13th May 2021, 1:24 pm
Saif Abdhullah’s (year 9) ‘Steel Mask’
Saif Abdhullah’s (year 9) ‘Steel Mask’

Launched by the Canal & River Trust, the competition is part of a programme to rejuvenate the Canal area of the City with a permanent walkway display of street art.

Now ‘Mechanical Heart’ by winning year 7 student Aleena Usman and Steel Mask by year 9 Saif Abdhullah will be crafted into the display by a street artist, known as Affix.

Three other students - Haashim Iqbal, Zaina Saeed and Ifrah Kamran– will have their work displayed at the Victoria Quays, after winning smaller prizes.

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‘Mechanical Heart,’ by winning year 7 student Aleena Usman

The school has been awarded £400 to invest in art and will also be able to enjoy a day’s workshop with Affix.

The competition was open to all primary and secondary schools in Sheffield. Initially delayed because of COVID, it finally ran in January as a remote learning initiative. After two classes at school, the winning students continued to work on their pieces at home, with online support and encouragement from their teacher and Subject Leader of Art, Design and Technology, Keir Birch.

Keir said: “I am so proud of all our students who took part in this exciting competition and blown away by the talent of Aleena and Saif, whose stunning pieces brilliantly depict Sheffield’s culture and heritage. It’s fantastic that their work – which was painstakingly completed at home – will now be on permanent display in the city and that, through the generous prize from the Canal & River Trust, we can inspire more students to enjoy art.”

Jade Wilkes, Community Roots Engagement Coordinator, Canal & River Trust, said: “We received a lot of entries but were particularly amazed by the outstanding level of work shown by the students of Astrea Academy Sheffield. We absolutely loved Aleena’s concept, with the beating heart of the city and its cogs integrated into the lifelike heart. And we were amazed at the skill of Saif’s piece. Our artist and judge was so impressed and is really looking forward to sharing his enthusiasm for the pieces with students at their workshop.”

Winning student Aleena said: “I was thrilled to hear that my piece of artwork had been chosen. I am very excited about having my work made into a piece of street art and I am looking forward to working with Affix soon.”

Saif said: “I love drawing, it’s a place I can escape to, and was excited to take part in the competition. Sheffield is known for steel, so I chose represent this as a steel mask with molten metal poring behind it show the creation of the city.”

The street art display will run along the canal near the Bacon Lane Bridge, on the wall belonging to Sheffield Steels Ltd.