Ayanna steps up to win top prize

  • Ayanna Peniston with Hamilton mayor Chalres Gosling (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Ayanna Peniston with Hamilton mayor Chalres Gosling (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

  • Ayanna Peniston's Chancery Lane Step, submitted into the All Thing Hamilton art exhibition.

    Ayanna Peniston's Chancery Lane Step, submitted into the All Thing Hamilton art exhibition.

A young painter’s splash of creativity has won the top prize in an art competition.

Ayanna Peniston, 16, won a $225 cash prize and a certificate of recognition after her painting, Chancery Lane Steps, proved a hit with a panel of judges.

The artist admitted she did not expect to win, which made her success even sweeter.

She added: “I was excited when I found out I won — this was a big deal and I was really honoured to win it.”

Ayanna, from Devonshire, was speaking after she was awarded Best in Show in the schools category of the All Things Hamilton art exhibition.

The exhibition, at the Bermuda Society of the Arts gallery in City Hall, was designed to mark the 225th anniversary of the Corporation of Hamilton.

Ayanna, a Mount Saint Agnes Academy pupil learnt about the competition from her art teacher and saw it as an opportunity to challenge herself.

She explained: “At first, I was going to do the Parliament building, but something told me to go look at a few more pictures.

“That’s when I found Chancery Lane and I thought ‘oh yes, I want to do this’.”

Ayanna said: “When I showed it to my teacher, she at first thought it was a little bit challenging for me, but I wanted to challenge myself with this because I love to paint details.

“So I drew it in my sketchbook first to make sure that the proportions were right and then I moved it on to the canvas.”

Ayanna’s piece was on display between January 17 and February 4 alongside more than 40 other pieces of art.

The artwork was submitted under the categories of student, amateur or professional and a winner in each was selected by the judges.

Ayanna said she learnt last week that her piece had been selected as the winner of the student category.

She said: “I thought ‘this is great’ and I told my family and my mom. They were all happy for me.”

Ayanna has painted since she was five years old, but started to hone her craft after she started at Mount Saint Agnes, aged 11.

She explained she enjoyed art because “it allows me to see the world in a more colourful way”.

Ayanna said: “Art takes me into my innermost self so it helps me express how I feel.

“I’m a very quiet person, almost to the point of introversion, so when I use art, it helps to show who I am — I’m creative, I’m happy and passionate about what I do.”

Ayanna hopes to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design in the United States when she finishes school.

Her ambition is to be a set designer for movies and television shows.

Ayanna said: “I like to do landscape art, so doing the landscapes of different backgrounds would be really fun.”

The amateur winner and People’s Choice award winner went to Kyle James with Sunset Over The Harbour and Tai-Quan Ottley won the professional category with Timeless Bermuda.

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Published Feb 24, 2020 at 10:20 am (Updated Feb 24, 2020 at 10:21 am)

Ayanna steps up to win top prize

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