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Thamesmead pupil, aged 10, wins London climate art prize

A pupil aged 10 from Thamesmead has beaten off competition from nearly a thousand young artists to win this year’s Young London Print Prize.

In the lead-up to COP26 in Glasgow, young people from across London were invited to express their own personal response to the climate crisis through the medium of printmaking. The winning entry by Meryl Basod, a Year 5 pupil from Heronsgate Primary School, is called Climate Love. It was chosen by a group of Year 12 students from secondary schools across the capital who judged all the submissions.  

The Young London Print Prize is a new competition launched during the pandemic which aims to inspire and showcase the work of young artists. All the work is created and judged by young people themselves. 988 pupils form 21 schools took part this year.  

Stuart McLachlan, Chief Executive of Anthesis, global sustainability specialists and one of the sponsors of the Prize, said: “What I love about this competition is how it harnesses the hope and creativity of young people, showcasing their interpretation of the world around them. Their generation will be much more affected by our failure to deal with ecological breakdown. And that means young people must be central to the way we now respond.”  

With two-thirds of young people now believing that the pandemic will have a long-term negative impact on their mental health1, art offers them a powerful platform to communicate what they think should be done about issues like climate change.  

John Lewis, Executive Director for Thamesmead at Peabody, another of the principal sponsors, commented: “I’d first like to congratulate Meryl on her well-deserved win. This is a true testament to the enthusiasm of young people in Thamesmead and their willingness to get involved in causes and activities that really matter. Developing the area’s culture, maintaining its vast landscape and encouraging community participation are key to the work we’re doing in the area, and this year’s Young London Print Prize really does tie all of those elements together.  

“It’s been a pleasure to be part of a prize that encourages young people to express themselves creatively while contributing their voices to the much-needed conversations about the climate crisis. We know that the impacts of climate breakdown cannot be ignored, and it’s vital that young people are involved in our efforts to find solutions. Art is a brilliant way to have that conversation.” 

You can see the work of these young artists on display at Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair from 11-14 November 2021. They are being exhibited in the brand new creative quarter at Woolwich Works alongside more than 500 artists from across the globe, including big names such as David Shrigley and Julian Opie. 

Cllr Adel Khaireh, Cabinet Member for Culture, Communities and Equalities at the Royal Borough of Greenwich said: “As the host borough for this Prize, I’m delighted to see it give so many young artists from different backgrounds a platform to express how they feel about the climate crisis.” 

The Young London Print Prize is a collaboration between Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair, Boldface and ACAVAIts sponsors include Peabody, Anthesis, and Palatine Private Equity. If you or your school is interested in taking part next year, please contact:  

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