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Nominated for Young person award

15-year old Makenzy Beard from Swansea is an artist. She only began painting aged 13 at the beginning of lockdown when schools and all her sport shut down (hockey for Wales, football for Swansea Schools, county netball and lifeguards for Langland on Gower). She was very surprised to find herself with a love and technical ability for emotional and reflective portraiture.

Her first proper attempt, a piece for the Royal Academy Young Artists’ Summer Show in London, was selected for exhibition from more than 30,000 entries. Widely shared on various media, this mood capturing portrait of a local farmer in a hi-vis jacket, John Tucker, brought widespread national interest. This, and subsequent paintings, have also attracted international critique.

She continues to paint when she can (mostly of interesting faces with a story) in her little garden shed, and often accompanied by her tea-delivering sister for distraction and advice. However, with the sport and school life now resurrected, finding the time to keep up with the increasing demand is just a little more difficult.

Her work can be seen at the Blackwater Gallery in Cardiff and on her Instagram account.