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18 February 2020

A loving home for Danial’s octopus skateboard

When two and a half year-old Hugo started telling his family that he wanted…

When two and a half year-old Hugo started telling his family that he wanted an octopus skateboard for his birthday, they were rather perplexed. Was this some kind of eight-legged skating invention they hadn’t heard of before?

It turns out that Hugo was in fact fixated on a skateboard artwork he had seen displayed as part of a Blackfriars art exhibition in Cibo Prospect – and it was indeed decorated with a striking red octopus.

Cibo owner, Anita Montin, says the skateboard exhibition had attracted a lot of interest from customers.

‘We love having student artwork in the cafe; it’s so bright and engaging and it’s a great way to support the local community,’ Anita says.

‘We’ve had lots of people comment on the skateboards especially, and no one moreso than little Hugo – he was so excited every time he came in to see it,’ she adds.

Hugo holding his new octopus skateboard

Hugo’s parents, Ben Turner and Emily Rice, then got in touch with Blackfriars to see if they could track down the artist and purchase the piece.

Blackfriars Head of Creative Arts and Design Technology, Ms Emily Kenny, then coordinated with the talented artist, Year 11 student Danial Qannadian, to organise the sale of his first artwork.

Hugo’s enthusiasm never waned, and he saved his Christmas money, pocket money and savings from extra jobs done around the house to make sure he could reward Danial for his hard work.

The handover was not complete without Hugo carefully decorating his pocket money envelope with stickers and texta, and of course giving Danial a big thank you hug.

‘We all really appreciate Danial’s talent and willingness to sell his art,’ says Hugo’s Dad Ben.

Danial himself says the experience of taking the artwork from idea generation, to creation, exhibition and now a sale has been enormously rewarding.

‘It’s not about the money though; it’s just amazing to me that someone likes my artwork so much, and that Hugo will get to enjoy it and make use of it,’ he says.

Ms Kenny says Danial’s success has created a real buzz in the Creative Arts department.

‘Danial will become an artist one day. It’s his favourite subject and he is always drawing. As Danial’s teachers we have been explaining how this is the start of his professional journey, and he is now planning his university application for 2022,’ she says.