Dagenham student taking part in Portrait Artist of the Year
PUBLISHED: 14:00 03 March 2019
A talented artist from Dagenham has shown off her skills on a TV show.
Shalewa Olaylwola, 20, has taken part in Sky Arts competition Portrait Artist of the Year, which pits both amateur and professional artists against each other.
Each week, a different set of contestants paint or draw a celebrity, with the winner of each heat put through to the semi-final stage. The overall winner will be commissioned to paint a portrait of Sir Tom Jones to hang in the National Museum of Wales.
Shalewa’s episode, which is due to be broadcast on Tuesday, March 5, saw the amateur artist take on the challenge of drawing singer Beverley Knight.
She said: “It was really good.
“We were in groups of three and we had a celebrity to paint or draw, and we had a few hours to do it.
“I chose to draw in charcoal, which I like.”
She explained she was approached to take part in the show, which is now in its fifth series, through her Instagram account where she posts her artwork.
“They invited me to apply and I did some research into it, and I sent them a portrait of myself,” she said.
“Then they got back and said they wanted me to take part.”
Whittled down from hundreds of applicants, Shalewa and her fellow contestants were taken to The Wallace Collection in west London’s Manchester Square - a museum which holds a diverse range of art.
Shalewa, who is studying for a degree in psychology at King’s College London, has been interested in art since childhood and took a GCSE in the subject at All Saints Catholic School.
“It’s been a hobby since I was young,” she said.
“Portraits are my favourite thing to do, I feel that’s my main thing. I like drawing faces.”
And while she wouldn’t reveal how she did in the show - which sees each celebrity sitter keep one of their portraits, regardless of whether the artist went through to the next stage - Shalewa plans to keep on finding the time to draw alongside her studies.
Portrait Artist of the Year is on Sky Arts on Tuesdays at 8pm.