Artist Leo Bignell, an Upper Sixth Form student, has a growing fan base for his exquisite sculptures in cardboard and other materials. The beauty and painstaking detail of his creations has now been recognised by the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA), and Leo has been named as one of the 20 most exceptional candidates in the RBA Star Students competition.
The piece selected from Leo’s portfolio for online display by the RBA, and at its prestigious Mall Galleries in St James’s later in the year, is Samurai. This intricate cardboard sculpture was recommended by The Arts Society South East Suffolk after viewing it at the Anna Airy Award Exhibition in November 2019. Samurai was also on show that year at Leo’s first solo exhibition at Turner’s in Colchester, an event that was featured on the BBC.
Earlier in 2019 The Royal Academy shortlisted three of his sculptures for its first Young Artists’ Summer Show.
Mrs Harvey, Vice Principal – Co-curricular and Head of the Creative and Performing Arts, said, ‘Leo has long been recognised as a rising star and it comes as no surprise that his work is now moving from a regional to a national stage. We are delighted for him and will all be watching his future progress with great interest.
‘While St Joseph’s College is widely recognised for the excellence of its academic and sports outcomes, we are equally proud of its wide-ranging successes in the Arts. We are a vibrant, creative community and lockdown will not be slowing us down!’ she added.
In an unprecedented year for schools, RBA competition organisers extended particular congratulations to the finalists and their teachers for their exceptional hard work at a difficult time. They praised the finalists for demonstrating ‘the highest levels of skill, expression and draughtsmanship’.
Online exhibitions of the work of these talented young artists are planned to be hosted on the Arts Society Connected website in February, and by The Mall Galleries and The Royal Over-Seas League in the spring. It is hoped a physical exhibition may be possible at a later date.
The future looks very exciting for Leo. After finishing his A-levels – he is studying Photography and Psychology as well as Art – he has an exhibition planned this summer in Sardinia. Further forward he is considering studying in Rome or Florence.