Bournemouth-born portrait artist wins top prize at international exhibition

Bournemouth Echo: PERFECT PLACE TO PAINT: Artist Stella Tooth with some of her portraits in Egypt PERFECT PLACE TO PAINT: Artist Stella Tooth with some of her portraits in Egypt

A BOURNEMOUTH-born artist who has been painting portraits of some of the UK’s best-known broadcasters has now won a top prize in an international exhibition.

Figurative artist Stella Tooth took part in the first Egypt Biennale in Sharm el Sheikh and won a special prize awarded by the judges at a glitzy televised closing awards ceremony.

Around 50 artists of 100 selected took part in the biennale.

They painted in various venues in Sharm el Sheikh – in the grounds of the Sonesta Club Hotel where they stayed, in the frenetic Naama Bay shopping area and in the town square, having been inspired by whirling dervish dances and the La Dolce Vita nightclub, set in caves.

Stella was one of three artists to receive a special award from the judges.

She was also asked to paint three portraits of the South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda, Hesham Ali and biennale organiser Gamal Meleka. She presented the paintings to them at the closing ceremony.

Now based in London, Stella also owns a flat at Alum Chine with husband Nigel. She said: “I’m thrilled to have been selected for the judges’ award in Egypt’s first art biennale, alongside fellow figurative artist Muhammad Elmoslemany and Achille Quadrini with his mosaic-like paintings.

“Painting side-by-side with such artists in public around Sharm el Sheikhi was an unforgettable experience, as was painting some of the faces of Egypt: from the euphoric Egyptian bride I met at Cairo airport to the South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda, whose portrait I was asked to paint for his birthday.”

She featured in the Daily Echo in October, as she embarked on painting various household names from the likes of ITN, BBC and Sky News, with a view to an eventual exhibition, including Julie Etchingham and John Humphrys.

Stella has now done the same with BBC correspondent Kate Adie and Sky News political editor, Adam Boulton.

She pursued art as a hobby after her education at Oakmead School for Girls, Bournemouth and Poole College and the University of the South Bank, taking regular evening classes. Later, Stella took part-time classes while working at Sky before embarking on a full-time portraiture diploma and a post diploma, which she finished in July.

The exhibition of biennale paintings continued until yesterday.

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