From Cockburn John Charles Academy to The Royal Academy

Dragos Abalasi, a Year 11 student at Cockburn John Charles Academy has had is photographic artwork accepted to be shown at The Royal Academy in London this summer.

His art teacher, Jessica Crawford, has been entering pieces for the Royal Academy’s Young Artists’ Summer Show for several years. But with over 21,000 submissions, it seemed unlikely that anyone from Belle Isle would be chosen.

Dragos’s artwork will not only be shown in the larger online exhibition, but will be physically exhibited at the gallery in Piccadilly. He and his family have also been invited to a special private showing, ahead of the exhibition opening to the public.

Dragos seemed genuinely shocked when his achievement was announced in school assembly. Afterwards I asked him about his piece ‘Surface’.

“It’s a photographic collage” he explained. “I spent three hours walking around the White Rose Shopping Centre looking for surfaces that were decaying, breaking down and took photos of them. Then I played around with them in Photoshop. It wasn’t really working with straight lines, so I made them wavy and it came together.”

‘Surface’ is one of his GCSE exam pieces and Dragos is hoping for a high mark. He’s also hoping to take some of the skills he’s developed into A Level studies with either Design Technology or Graphic Communication.

Jessica Crawford, Subject Lead of Art, Craft and Design, commented:

“We are extremely proud of Dragos and his winning submission to the Young Artist Summer Show 2022. To be in the top 1.5% of submissions in the country is a huge achievement and a great reward for Dragos after 3 years of hard work in his GCSE Photography.

“The project title was ‘texture’, and you can see in the final piece that Dragos truly encapsulated the brief, you can really feel the textures in this image. We are looking forward to hearing all about his trip to see the exhibition in London in the summer.”

If you can’t get to London to see the physical exhibition, you see the online exhibition at: from 19 July 2022.


Photo: Jessica Crawford and Dragos Abalasi with his winning submission ‘Surface’


One Reply to “From Cockburn John Charles Academy to The Royal Academy”

  1. Wow amazing art work and talent and led by a true inspirational teacher Jessica . Hoping you make your mark in the art world and go far!

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