Lockdown inspires Teodora’s prize-winning artwork

Ruth Peterson | October 16, 2020

A talented student who developed her passion for painting during lockdown has achieved first prize in a Bradford art competition.

Teodora Siro, who studies English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) at Bradford College, won first prize at the Connect Art Competition.

Teodora with ESOL tutor Shamim Nizami and her paintings
Teodora with ESOL tutor Shamim Nizami

Mazar Ellahi from Lidget Green Healthy Living Centre in Bradford organised the competition to inspire people of all ages to showcase their artwork, based around the theme: Beyond Covid 19 Inspiring Stories.

Bradford College ESOL tutor Shamim Nizami said: “Teodora is a very talented, hard-working student and deserved to win the art competition. I hope this will lead to new career goals in her life.”

“I want to paint many more beautiful pictures”

Teodora, who is 49, came to settle in Bradford from Hungary around three years ago.  She has only painting for just two years. Nevertheless, she is very interested in acrylic paintings and wants to continue with her passion. She said: “I want to paint many more beautiful pictures.”

Teodora and one of her beautiful paintings

Preferring to use darker colours in her work, Teodora gets inspiration from videos online and the harmony of the colours. She said: “I love to express emotions through them.”

“I am very proud to go to a school named after David Hockney.”

Teodora is self-taught and constantly practises her painting and purchases canvases, brushes and acrylic paints. She says: “I am very proud to go to a school named after painter David Hockney.”

When Bradford College moved its teaching and learning online following the Covid-19 restrictions earlier this year, ESOL tutor Seima Mahmood led an online project called #InspiredByESOL. In this unique collaboration between the ESOL department and Bradford College Library, students displayed artwork, recipes, letters, thoughts, poems, photos and other creative works in an online gallery. Alongside these works, tutors encouraged students to write about their Covid-19 experiences and tell them about their lives during lockdown.

Beautiful artwork showcased online

Seima noticed Teodora’s artwork on the online project. She then asked Shamim, her ESOL teacher, to enter Teodora for the art competition.

Seima said: “Teodora was so excited and thrilled when she realised that she had won the competition!”

ESOL students’ amazing achievements

The achievements of ESOL students at Bradford College have been recognised in the district and further afield. A group of learners aged between 16 and 18 are taking part in the Through Our Lens project led by photographer Carolyn Mendelsohn. Their photographs offer glimpses into their lives during lockdown. You can see them displayed in public spaces across the district, along with pictures taken by other budding photographers across Bradford aged between 13 and 18.

Other students have achieved arts awards from taking part in projects with organisations including Bradford Theatres.

You can find out more about English for Speakers of Other Languages courses at Bradford College on the website.

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