TEN graduating artists have been shortlisted for a major national art prize run by Northumbria University, including one from the North-East.

The second annual Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Art Prize, launched by Northumbria graduate and philanthropist Wee Teng Woon in 2012, gives final year fine art students in the UK the chance to win £40,000 in prizes.

The competition package, sponsored by law graduate and art collector Mr Woon and named after his late father, is equal in value to Britain’s biggest art award, the Turner Prize.

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The shortlisted artists come from art schools and universities across the country and their art work encompasses a wide range of themes and mediums, including sculpture, photography, collage and animation. From greenery growing out of concrete to explorations of life and death, each piece of work has impressed the judges.

The finalists are from as far afield as St Martins in London and the Dundee School of Art in Scotland.

They include Helen McCartney from Durham City who is studying at Sunderland University.

Art work by the ten finalists – fine art students who graduated this summer – is currently on exhibition in Northumbria University’s Gallery North, Sandyford Road, in Newcastle until September 19. They will be judged at the end of this month, with the winners being announced in September.

The Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Art Prize was established to provide opportunities for students to develop their fine art practice, offering direct links with the cultural sector through Northumbria’s partnership with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.

Helen McCartney, said: “I think the Woon Art prize represents the greatest opportunity for final year arts students in this country. It attracts talent to the North-East. I was born in the North East of England, in Durham, so it’s important to me that this area gets the recognition that it deserves nationally.”