Eleanor Smith praises students behind art exhibition

A parliamentary candidate has praised the "quality of art education" in Wolverhampton after students made her the subject of a project.

Tariq Evans, from Birmingham, Eleanor Smith and the portrait he did of her
Tariq Evans, from Birmingham, Eleanor Smith and the portrait he did of her

Eleanor Smith featured in 10 images exhibited as part of an art project run by the University of Wolverhampton.

The Wolverhampton South West Labour candidate was invited to have her own portraits commissioned after she had commented on images of Tory grandees on the walls outside her Westminster office when she was elected in 2017.

Ms Smith, who became the West Midlands first MP from an Afro-Caribbean background when she was elected in 2017, recently visited the exhibition.

Lorraine McGinnis' portrait of Eleanor Smith

She was honoured to be featured and was "taken away" with the results.

"My ego isn't so big I was demanding to be the focus of lots of pieces of art – but I had commented on how portraits of Tory grandees Ken Clarke, Michael Howard and Iain Duncan Smith had been hung outside my Westminster office," she said.

Sandra Fraser's portrait of Eleanor Smith

"They didn't phase me, but I appreciate the University of Wolverhampton Arts department wanting to give balance to this.

"Over the last two years while MP I've been very proud to support the art department and see the amazing work from the talented students at degree shows.

"Access to the Art School, and a full range of creative courses, is so important for the students, but also for the economy of this city – they are an essential part of Wolverhampton's future.

Eleanor Smith with the artists

"I thank the students and the team of committed lecturers working hard to protect the quality of art education in this city."

The exhibition was arranged by lecturer Gavin Rogers and featured work from the following students: Rebecca Collins, Tariq Evans, Sandra Fraser, Matthew Garvin, Jatinder Ghataora, Mac McCoig, Lorraine McGinnis, Jan Norton, Nicholas Sims and Lizzie Smith.

Conservative Stuart Anderson is the other candidate currently declared in Wolverhampton South West.

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