The judges have selected ten finalists in the adult contest and three in the junior category from almost 100 entries.

The three finalists in the Young Fenland Poet Laureate contest are James Horsburgh, of Wisbech, Bonnie Scott, of Chatteris and Kristin Tunnard, of King’s Lynn.

The shortlisted ten adults in the Fenland Poet Laureate contest are Deborah Curtis, of Littleport, Lizzy Doe, of Waterbeach, Rani Drew, of Cambridge, Aaron Garner, of March, Poppy Kleiser, of Wisbech, Leanne Modern, of Ely, Emma Ormond, of Cambridge, Andrea Porter, of St Ives, Michelle Stanbridge, of Barroway Drove and Taymaz Valley, of March.

Karen Harvey, of Atelier East, who founded the competition in 2011, said: “We were so suprised and delighted to read them all, and grateful to everyone who has got involved, supported and shared this initiative.

“It has been hard work, but we’ve all pulled together to make it happen, and it has happened with great results.

“Congratulations to everyone involved. We can’t wait for the awards evening and to hear the poets bring their words to life.”

The Fenland Poet Laureate Awards received a Clore Poetry and Literature Award and attracted international coverage last year.

Elaine Ewart, current Fenland Poet Laurete and one of this year’s judges, praised the quality of this year’s entries.

She said: “There were so many evocative entries, some melancholy, some humorous, written by people who had really put a lot of thought into creating a Fenland atmosphere.

“I could almost feel myself sinking into the damp black soil, flattened by the prevailing Fen Blow.”

All of the shortlisted entrants have been invited to read their poems at the special Awards Evening at Wisbech & Fenland Museum on March 1, which starts at 7pm.

Tickets to the event are free and available by emailing


Artist of the Week – Taymaz Valley

March 7, 2011 by Violeta Petkova ·

Interview by Violeta Petkova with Taymaz Valley

Taymaz Valley

Taymaz Valley:”Art in any form or medium is expression of thoughts and ideas, and I do believe no matter where you are from you can appreciate a work of beauty.”

Your photos are amazing. It is easy to see that every single one of them has its own spirit. How does everything begin and what is the path that leads to the final result?

Photography has become my favorite medium because of the fact that I sometimes set out to find a subject and on other times come by them by chance. I cannot prepare myself for what inspires me and what might be a good enough photograph.

Girl with birds
Photo: Taymaz Valley

When I bring my camera home and start going through the photos, it becomes apparent that some photographs are too good and have to be worked on. I use the usual techniques, as well as try new ways of enhancing each photograph and maybe that is the reason they all have their own spirit, but I hope they have a unity as a collective that portray my imagination.

Your work includes different kinds of art. How do you connect all the elements and how do you make your photos look so great?

Studying History of Art, I have come to the conclusion that the past has had a tremendous effect on my work. I take notice of things that remind me of historical works and events.

Photo: Taymaz Valley

I believe beauty has a way of reminding one unconsciously of other unprecedented beautiful objects and one cannot help but to capture it for enjoyment.

”I’ve never believed in God, but I believe in Picasso.”, says the Mexican painter Diego Rivera. What do you believe in?

I don’t believe in Picasso but I believe in the Art of Picasso. I understand fully the need to make heroes of people we admire, however if we look closer we will see that it is not them that we admired but what they did or what they said.

I've seen the Eternal Footman
Photo: Taymaz Valley

I do not believe in God but I believe in the Art that was inspired by the idea of God. Ideas are important, they separate us from all the other beings on this planet. I hope tomorrow I am judged by my work and not by what I believed in, because the man I am is flawed, at times broken, insecure but a dreamer, and made mistakes in his life that I hope people will avoid in the future.

Did you came across art, or did it come to you? How did you two get so close?

I took art lessons at school; however it was university that I found Art again. At every university, at the beginning of the year, posters are sold for your student flats and they range from Bob Marley to Pulp Fiction. I picked Monet’s Water Lilies and Van Gogh’s Night Cafe, because I found them captivating.

Photo: Taymaz Valley

I looked at those paintings for months on end, and decided to learn about the artists who made them and their other work. And so began my obsession with art. After my Undergraduate years, I picked History of Art and studied it from the start. So you might say Art found me and brought me closer to the person I am at ease with.

Where is hidden the power of the image, is it in its emotions or in its beauty?

In both. Beauty affects a person unconsciously and that affects the person’s consciousness emotionally. I have seen people cry on seeing a beautiful piece of art and that makes me believe in the power of Art.

Red door
Photo: Taymaz Valley

If you manage to make a person feel with your artwork, then you have succeeded in communicating your ideas as an artist and indeed as a human being.

How do you get inspired?

I am inspired by what I see, read, or hear and what makes me feel.

Photo: Taymaz Valley

You cannot pin point inspiration, it comes from something deep within us, something that we do share with others; therefore you can say that it is universal. How we communicate these inspirations is what makes us individuals.

What are your future professional plans?

At the moment I am in the process of writing my PhD proposal in relationship between Art and Music; however my passion is Art and Photography and I hope to carry on putting on exhibitions of my work, because I have something to say and the only way I prefer to say it is through my Art.

Photo: Taymaz Valley

What do you know about Bulgaria? Came across any kind of Bulgarian culture?

I am a fan of Bulgarian literature and especially their music. I am yet to travel to Bulgaria but from what I’ve heard it is a beautiful country with stunning architecture and I hope to visit this great nation soon.

My House
Photo: Taymaz Valley

Do you think that the language of art is so universal and reaches everyone who is craving for soul food?

Art in any form or medium is expression of thoughts and ideas, and I do believe no matter where you are from you can appreciate a work of beauty.

Vancouver skies
Photo: Taymaz Valley

We are all linked as human beings by our ability to feel and think rationally, so as long as we remember that we are alike more than we are different, humanity and peace has a greater chance of succeeding.

Photo: Taymaz Valley

Photo: Taymaz Valley

My heart soars
Photo: Taymaz Valley

Photo: Taymaz Valley

Photo: Taymaz Valley

Photo: Taymaz Valley

Taymaz Valley is a British Iranian Artist/Photographer/Writer working in London. He has studied History of Art for his Postgraduate time at University and is writing his PhD proposal on Harmonies between Art and Music at the moment. He has exhibited in a number of group exhibitions all over the UK and the World. However he is yet to have a solo exhibition of his own.

Taymaz started his journey into art by just picking up a paintbrush without prior training in drawing or painting eight years ago. Fortunately he has had the freedom to try out different approaches to art and at the moment he is perfecting his photography which he sees as essential in finding one’s own voice within any medium. Valley admires many artists and has wide range of inspiration from Music to Advertising. His aim mainly in his art is to make the viewer feel. Emotions have been a big part of his life and he hopes it to be main part of his work.


Published on December 27, 2010
think - Taymaz Valley on

think - Taymaz Valley on

Tell us a little about yourself ?

I’m a British Iranian Artist/Photographer/Writer working in the UK. I’ve spent most of my life studying Art and Artists’ lives and actually dealt with History of Art for my postgraduate time at University. I am currently working with Atelier East and Total Image Nation who organise art exhibition in around the UK.

This summer I organised an exhibition for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition Rejects whom had been overlooked by the panel of judges. I believe in a fairer way of dealing with aspiring artists be they professional or otherwise, and if history has taught us anything, is the fact that a few so called experts cannot be the best judge of what is influential and indeed good art. Having this notion in mind, I’m planning to make the Rejects exhibition, where all artworks are shown regardless of their quality, an annual event.

What inspires you in your work ?

I am above all a humanist. I find those qualities that drive our morality and integrity in all that surrounds us, be it nature, manmade technology, urban architecture, other people or even theology. I am fascinated by religions not for their faith doctrine as I am an atheist, but in the psychoanalytical issues surrounding the followers. Believing in an order within this universe fascinates me, and I study it as an observer with a scientific eye which requires doubt at every step of the way.

More and more I have become convinced of the influences of History in my own artwork. I seem to capture moments

carousel - Taymaz Valley on

carousel - Taymaz Valley on

which have links to the past. Studying history one becomes aware that in order to move forward in the future you must learn from those centuries gone by, and I believe my work however much influenced by the past has some qualities that enables me to move on and present ideas for the future.

The best compliment you can ever give me would be to say that my work has made you feel. Because to think is something expected and I believe most artworks allow you to ponder over them because they are being presented in a fashion that requires you to treat them as special unprecedented objects, and to ask why is within our nature. O’ but to feel is to allow the consciousness to disappear and let you play with those emotions that take you on an unknown journey, not one of which is the same as any other.

Any tips for budding artists/illustrators/photographers ?

The age old reference to artists as starving comes to mind, and should inspire every one of you. One must not create or capture for critics, historians or art students of the future. One must have ordinary people in mind because they are who need the most inspiration, and they are ultimately who will judge us as worthy of their attention. Museums and Art Galleries are based on fame and profitability, but remember most works in those places were rejected as unworthy by the experts. Do not create to profit because then you have lost what made you an artist at the start, and with that loss you have lost part of you which was irreplaceable.

Express your thoughts in your work without fear. Our job is to say what we feel out loud so that people can hear us. It is our job to point out the injustices of this world. It is our job to find a better way. The beauty of being an artist is that we do not have to compromise on our feelings. No establishment, government, or political power can tell us what to say and what to express. We shall all perish, but it is through our work that we can make a lasting difference. Do not fear that word “political” because you are allowed to be political. Remember even Picasso couldn’t escape politics and it is indeed his most political work “Guernica” that we revere.

Why did you join tailcast ?

tailcast embodied qualities that all artists looked for: a place to share their art, socialise and discuss future works. I was influenced by many members of tailcast whose work were unique and awe aspiring. I made many friends there from all over the world, and they allowed me to examine my own work more coherently and with fresh eyes. I am less interested in the business side of what has lately become the new tailcast, but I do hope they manage to recapture what made them a thriving community of artists we all believed in.


Artists in Fenland take part in free international Big Draw event during half term

Monday, 1 November, 2010
16:08 PM

Hundreds of venues around the world took part in this year’s Big Draw, an annual initiative to give all ages a chance to unleash their creative side.

Workshops funded by Fenland District Council’s Youth District Council and organised by Atelier East, were held at the Whittlesey, Wisbech and Fenland, Chatteris and March museums.

March-based artist Taymaz Valley said: “It is time to give the younger generation the tools to make a fairer more creative society, where you are rewarded for self expression and hard work.”

Cambs Times, Friday September 4, 2009:
Online winner: March artist Taymaz Valley has been voted Best in Show at the Atelier East Summer Exhibition. His Picture "Out of Darkness" was the winner in an online Vote.
Fenland Citizen, Published Date: 02 September 2009 By Emma Mason:
'THE Best in Show at the Atelier East Summer Exhibition, as voted for by Citizen readers, has received his prize.
Taymaz Valley from March was the clear winner in the online vote, with his picture titled ‘Out of Darkness’.

Taymaz said: “I had the pleasure of exhibiting my work with artists whose dedication to their art was unquestionable. I am forever in debt to Atelier East for this award and I must mention my appreciation of all their hard work. Last but not least, I would like to thank all those who voted – your love of art inspires me.”

He was awarded his trophy at the Oliver Cromwell Hotel in March and will also get a solo exhibition at the Angles Theatre in Wisbech at a later date.

Karen Fevyer from Atelier East said: “The quality of work in this year’s summer exhibition was excellent and I’m sure the Citizen readers had a hard job deciding which to vote for – I know I did!”'