May Morning art competition winners capture essence of Oxford

Published: Thursday, 5th May 2022

A ten-year-old boy, a self-taught member of Oxford Art Society and a queer illustrator are amongst the winners of Oxford City Council’s May Morning art competition.

The winners saw their designs on proud display on Magdalen Bridge as part of the May Morning celebrations. Approximately 12,500 attended May Morning and had the opportunity to see the artworks.

The display boards will also be used at key events in the city throughout the year. The competition brief included showcasing the hidden gems of the city and reflecting the diversity of Oxford’s communities.

Jo and Dylan Draper

Jo Draper’s artwork was created with the help of her ten-year-old son Dylan. Their painting depicts elements of Oxford’s heritage that are not on the main tourist trail, including John Radcliffe Hospital and the wooden hand sculpture in Oxpens Meadow.

Jo said:

“My ten-year-old son Dylan helped with the painting – he’s a very keen and talented artist.

“The picture represents something of the city’s incredible dedicated and pioneering community. The child represents community and Oxford’s emphasis on families, as well as the importance for future generations in the city’s carbon goals to create a cleaner and greener environment.

“The painting also incorporates nods to less well known parts of Oxford’s history, the brick terraces. In East Oxford in particular, this provided affordable housing in the ensuing years as people came to the UK and to Oxford to work – a number of them in the Morris factory.

“I’ve always had a secret admiration for the Dutch still life tradition of hiding contextual clues in a picture, so there are a few extras added in the paper lanterns from the festival of light, and two reminders of our very special Cowley Road festival, steel drums and the fantastic mermaid who has been a regular in the procession and symbolises the spirit of Oxford in supporting important causes”.

For more information on Jo’s work, please visit:

Gerry Coles

Gerry Coles is a largely self-taught member of Oxford Art Society and teaches linocut printmaking at her studio near Thame. She exhibits and sells her work online and at local exhibitions throughout South Oxfordshire, including Thame Art Crawl and Oxfordshire Artweeks.

Gerry’s winning design depicts the complex roof structure of Oxford’s Covered Market.

Gerry said:

“I was inspired to create this as the Covered Market is one of my favourite places in Oxford. The lanterns and roof structure are works of art in their own right.

“I discovered linocut printmaking after visiting an exhibition of relief printmaking in Bath. I am largely self-taught but enjoy attending workshops to improve specific skills and love to pick up new ideas and techniques. 

“It will be so exciting to see my linocut displayed on a large event board, the original is tiny by comparison!”

For more information on Gerry’s work, please visit:

Jason Kattenhorn 

Jason Kattenhorn is a freelance queer illustrator from the UK. Jason’s work celebrates his favourite places to visit in Oxford, as well as exploring some of its history and its people. 

Jason says:

“My illustration work usually depicts those LGBTQ+ bodies we are told to hide. I love to explore queer intimacy in all its forms because queer bodies are awesome; they are resilient, and they are beautiful. 

“There is a rich thread of diverse LGBTQ+ stories and faces in Oxford and I wanted the work to represent a small section of that community somehow. 

“I am ecstatic that the work I created has been selected and I can’t wait for someone to see the artwork and possibly feel represented and see something of themselves in the artwork”.

For more information on Jason’s work, please visit:

A May Morning Crowdfunder has raised £1360 to date and is open until 6 May, after which, the limited edition merchandise will be available via the Museum of Oxford shop in the Town Hall. 

For more information, please visit: