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India Borge wins Sovereign Art Foundation Students Prize

Photo by Johnny Bugeja.

Budding young artist India Borge scooped the top prize at the Sovereign Art Foundation Students Prize with her oil painting ‘A Woman’s Form’.

Her artwork was one of 20 finalists, which was whittled down from 126 entries from young artists aged 12 to 18 years.

“I am so surprised and thrilled to win," said India.

"I started to experiment with oils and it took me a while to get he right skin tones, but I now really enjoy working in this medium.”

The 16-year-old artist from Prior Park School won £800 and £2,000 for her school.

“Having studied a selection of figurative artists over the last few months I have been inspired by exploring the organic and natural form of the female figure,” India said when she submitted the piece.

“I wanted to portray a projection of strength and beauty, despite the challenges and pressures the female body is put under throughout the consistent rhythm of life.”

The winner of the Public Vote Prize was Sofia Hillman Rota, aged 14, from Prior Park School with her mixed media collage, Multi-Pomegranates. She won £400 and £1,000 for her school.

“I thought they had got the wrong person when I saw the email,” she said.

“I am so excited to be a winner.”

The winner of the Hassans Prize was Nicole Zinovev, aged 15, from Prior Park School Gibraltar with her painting Morning Raindrops. She won £300, and £300 for her school.

The Minister for Culture Dr John Cortes presented the awards alongside Sovereign Trust CEO Gerry Kelly, Managing Director of Sovereign Pension Services Darren Whitley, Eamon Bermingham Managing Director of Sovereign Wealth, John Blake MD of Sovereign Trust and Neil Entwistle MD of Sovereign Insurance Services.

“The Sovereign Art Foundation itself was founded back in 2003 by Sovereign Chairman Howard Bilton combining his passion for the arts with his passion to provide funding for underprivileged children across Asia,” Mr Whitley said.

“Howard originally founded the foundation to address the disparity he saw in the distribution of wealth in Hong Kong. He observed that so little resources were given back to local communities and to those that needed it most.”

“This unique model therefore achieves a dual purpose of recognising, supporting, and promoting artistic talent as well as bringing the therapeutic benefits of art to underprivileged and disadvantaged children.”

“Since 2003 the foundation has gone from strength to strength running the biggest art prize in the Asia Pacific annually and this year launching professional level prizes in Africa and Portugal.”

“A staggering 10 million dollars has been raised to date by the foundation.”

“The Students Prizes have been running since 2012, in Hong Kong, Mauritius, Singapore, London, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Malta & Gozo, Bahrain and Portugal, so Gibraltar is in good company.”

Mr Whitley added the winners of the Judges and Public Vote Prizes will be automatically entered into the Global Students Prize.

“I am sure you will agree, there are some amazing pieces of artwork on display here tonight and this is a wonderful celebration of the talent in our schools here,” he said.

The Sovereign Art Foundation has also able to donate a large portion of funds to the Youth Centre for the puchase of camera and lighting equipment for their youth clubs and independent art therapists, the Artful Remedy.

Mr Whitley thanked the sponsors including Hassans, Simmons Gainsford, Image Graphics, and thanked LGT Vestra, Schroders, Brooks Macdonald International Silver Key, Frames Faces, the John Mackintosh Café team and Gibraltar Cultural Services for their support.

“The good news is that it doesn’t all end this week," Mr Whitley said.

“Some of the artworks can still be bid upon and if you would like to own an original piece of art from these very talented artists the auction closes in February.”

“Also prints of all the pieces are available. Whilst the artworks will go into storage over the Christmas holidays, the Finalist’s exhibition will open at St Bernard’s Hospital in the second week of January, after that it will go to Hassans lovely Midtown offices and a third venue is under discussion.”

Due to the bad weather on the launch evening and the Covid-19 pandemic, the Awards Ceremony event had to be pared down from the original plans which just winners and family present.

Bidding to buy the original art can be done online:

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