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Holly Cunliffe, aged 23, from Chester, was one of the second prize winners in the Accademia Riaci’s fifth annual competition and the only entrant from the UK.

Entrants were invited to represent ‘blooming’ in their country in any form of art. Holly entered in the non-professional painting and drawing category, choosing to depict a busy imaginary street scene with a bright colour palette. She said: “I first came up with the idea while thinking of the phrase “blooming inconvenience”. I have included other representations, such as an old lady and a young girl with a mirror, representing blooming in beauty and youth. There is a pregnant lady to represent the ‘blooming’ of new life, who is walking past the Blooming Café. I tried to keep a radiant colour palette, with gold and pinkish tones, while incorporating buildings in the UK that have the classic black and white decorative architecture. There is a kind of grey overtone for the classic British weather - “What blooming awful weather!””

The aim of the Accademia Riaci’s competition is to contribute to the revitalisation and internationalisation of the Italian art, design and crafts industries, by discovering new artists and promoting studying abroad in Italy.

Holly said: “I entered the competition to see what my chances were like in an international competition and have my work critiqued. It has inspired me to produce more work and aim towards eventually creating a winning piece. I hope this opportunity inspires others to take the leap and enter competitions to show off their work.”

Jeremy Turner, Programme Leader for Fine Art and Deputy Head, Department of Art and Design, said: “It’s gratifying when students take some of the skills and interests from their University programme and apply them in an external context. Holly’s clearly done well with this, and the experience of making a work to fit a brief, putting together an application and achieving some success alongside international artists indicates some of the potential that Fine Art students and graduates possess.”

Holly has won a year of tuition fees paid to study at Accademia Riaci or to fund a summer course.

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