Calling all artists! Literary Inspirations Art Competition 2022: Inspired by Paula Rego

Take part in our free-to-enter art competition! Closing date for entries - Tuesday 31st May 2022


When Paula Rego reads her favourite books, she imagines that she is one of the characters. In her artwork, she changes the story to suit her purposes. In celebration of Rego's upcoming exhibition at Petersfield Museum and inspired by her process, we are launching an art competition for local artists. Please see details at the bottom of this page for how to enter your submission. 

The competition brief:

It's time to put yourself in the shoes of Jane Eyre. Read the extract below and imagine you have just been sent to the strict Lowood Institution, a charity school where students are wrongly mistreated. Respond to the extract in the medium of your choice, whether it's collage, sketching, oil painting or even sculpture! (Please note, if you are submitting a sculpture, please send us clear photographs from all angles, or send a video if your piece has moving parts.)

Jane has just been singled out by Mr Brocklehurst, the supervisor of Lowood, who has made a rare visit to the school. He stands her on a stool in front of the class and says: 

"My dear children," pursued the black marble clergyman, with pathos, "this is a sad, a melancholy occasion; for it becomes my duty to warn you that this girl, who might be one of God's own lambs, is a little castaway - not a member of the true flock, but evidently an interloper and an alien. You must be on your guard against her; you must shun her example - if necessary, avoid her company, exclude her from your sports, and shut her out from your converse. Teachers, you must watch her: keep your eyes on her movements, weigh well her words, scrutinise her actions, punish her body to save her soul- if, indeed, such salvation be possible, for (my tongue falters while I tell it,) this girl, this child, the native of a Christian land, worse than many a little heathen who says its prayers to Brahma and kneels before Juggernaut - this girl is - a liar!"

Not sure where to start? Try answering one/some of these questions: 
  • What range of emotions are you feeling, and what could that look like? 
  • Are frustrated/angry with Mr Lowood? How can you show that? 
  • What action would you take after hearing these words? 
  • Does this scenario sound familiar? Think back to a time when you felt like Jane Eyre
  • If this was your story, what would happen next? 
  • How might you bring some justice to the story? Does Mr Brocklehurst get his comeuppance? 
Prize for winning artwork:
  • 2 x Free tickets for Paula Rego: Literary Inspirations exhibition (your choice of date until 9th July)
  • Winning artwork presented in The Courtyard Cafe - our museum cafe
  • Winning artwork presented on our website and social media channels

We will also be picking our favourite runner up entries to share on our website and social media channels.

How to enter:

Email with the information below:

  • One to three high-quality images of your artwork (must be at least 300 dpi in .jpg format)
  • Your full name and contact details
  • A short description about your piece and/or your style of artwork
  • You social media handles (eg. @ellietheartist) if you would like to be tagged if/when we share your piece
Closing date for entries:

Tuesday 31st May 2022

(Please note, by entering this competition, you are deemed to accept our Terms and Conditions)

ourtesy Paula Rego and Cristea Roberts Gallery, London ©️ Paula Rego

Courtesy Paula Rego and Cristea Roberts Gallery, London ©️ Paula Rego
Paula Rego: Literary Inspirations Exhibition

23 March - 10 September 2022

One of the most important figurative artists of our time, Dame Paula Rego (b.1935) is also a sublime and inventive storyteller. Following a major retrospective at Tate Britain, Petersfield Museum is pleased to announce an exhibition of Rego's work in print, a medium in which she found great imaginative potential. Displayed alongside Paula Rego's graphic work will be the stories that inspired her, in artist's books published by Enitharmon Editions. Rego uses novels, poems, plays and history books as a starting point for her printmaking, 'like you put on a coat, and then to stand the cold'. Stepping out into the cold, Rego tells her own story; one in which the hero loses and the underdog prevails, and she free to explore her wildest fears and fantasies. 

Museum Admission included in ticket price.