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Former Ipswich School pupil scoops prestigious art award The Surgeon’s Prize in Rising Stars exhibition

A student from Suffolk has beaten off over 200 competitors to snag a top art prize.

Sophie Cleave, who attended school in Ipswich but is currently enrolled in University of the Arts London, was awarded The Surgeon’s Prize as part of the Rising Stars exhibition.

The merit recognised the work she put into her acrylic and oil painting titled Blurred Reality.

Sophie Cleave was awarded a Rising Star award. Picture: Ipswich School
Sophie Cleave was awarded a Rising Star award. Picture: Ipswich School

The Rising Stars exhibition was set up by the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA).

The firm chose 20 pieces of artwork, which will be displayed at the Mall Galleries in London throughout March, and forms part of its bicentennial celebrations, which displays over 200 pieces of work.

In total, 15 awards were handed out, including three Rising Star Awards, of which Sophie was given one.

Sophie recently finished her A-Levels at Ipswich School.

She now studies Art Foundation at the universities Camberwell arts campus.

Sophie said: “When I heard about being awarded The Surgeon’s Prize I was extremely shocked and couldn't quite believe it at first. I didn't even realise I could win a prize so I was thrilled to be chosen.

"My artwork was inspired by Tim Avery and James Bonnici. It was an A Level sample piece about social isolation due to social media, and portrayed feeling excluded from friends.”

A second former former pupil from Ipswich School, Willow McIntyre, was also in the running for a Rising Star award.

Richard Parkin, the director of art at Ipswich School, said: “It’s very unusual to be selected to be part of this exhibition, but to have artwork from two students on display and a prize awarded as well, is truly exceptional.

"Both students were very creative with their approach, and Sophie’s observational drawing and painting skills really shine when you see them at the Mall Galleries.”

Nicholas Weaver, Ipswich School's headmaster, added: “It is fantastic to see Sophie following her passions and being rewarded for her hard work in this way, and it is a real tribute to the work of our wonderful Art Department.

"Sophie’s success will be a great inspiration for our current pupils - what an achievement.”