Pupils keep eyes on prize to get to art of the matter

ARTISTIC youngsters have been competing for the Turner Prize – their Turner Prize, named after two of their teachers, rather than the national award renowned for causing controversy among traditionalists, that is.

Students at Benton Dene Schools in Longbenton have created lots of wacky and wonderful designs for the competition, inspired by the real Turner Prize being hosted at Gateshead’s Baltic art gallery.

Baltic director Godfrey Worsdale, a member of this year’s Turner Prize jury, visited the Hailsham Avenue schools to reveal the winners and present them with their awards.

The Benton Dene Turner Prize is named after the two Mrs Turners who work at the school, Benton Dene School headteacher Linda and class teacher Ann, helped by pupil Rebecca Turner.

The project, running throughout the autumn term, has given pupils the chance to create their own art to represent something they enjoy.

The students have also been working with artist and photographer Lindsay Duncanson, to create an interactive installation in the school’s changing rooms.

Teacher Clare Boreham said: “The standard of work is just fantastic, but, most of all, the pupils have really enjoyed working with each other on this.

“Every single pupil who took part was passionate, enthusiastic and had great fun.”

Pupils also visited the Baltic to learn more about the Turner Prize exhibition and talk to Mr Worsdale again.

Meghan Ritchie, nine, said: “We visited Baltic and saw some of the artwork being constructed.

“One of them uses powder, make-up, soap and even soil as she loves the textures of them. Another uses everyday furniture and dismantles them to recreate something not as ordinary.”

Martha Wylie, also nine, added: “We thought all of this was brilliant, and it’s inspired us to host our very own Turner Prize too.”

Primary school headteacher Jill Forster said: “The pupils have really enjoyed finding out about the Turner Prize and modern art.

“It’s been fascinating to see their take on it, and the work they’ve come up with is just as unique, creative and worthy of a prize as the real Turner Prize contenders.”