A Medical Science student from De Montfort University (DMU) is to appear on the BBC’s The One Show after having her portrait drawn to mark almost one year of Leicester being in lockdown.
Diana Omokore has been living in the Newarke Point student halls, on the DMU campus, since the pandemic first sent Leicester into lockdown in March last year.
The One Show decided to produce a film about people in Leicester due to the city experiencing more months under some form of Government restrictions than any other area in the UK.
Diana is one of four people who talk about their lockdown experiences while having their portraits drawn, through a window, by London artist and presenter Adebanji Alade.
Adebanjo has drawn and painted all his life, has a studio in London and is the Vice-President of the Royal Society of Oil Painters.
In the episode, which airs tonight on BBC One at 7pm, Diana can be seen sitting in DMU’s The Food Village while Adebanji sits outside and interviews her while sketching.
The final four pencil portraits are to go on display in The Leicester Gallery, at DMU’s Design Wing in the Vijay Patel building. People will be able to see the portraits through the window of the gallery as the city continues to be in lockdown.
Diana, who has been offered a place to study Medicine at two universities next year, said: “It was certainly an experience having my portrait drawn and really interesting to see how Adebanji worked.
“I’m not quite sure how to put it into words that I am going to be on The One Show but it feels pretty good.”
Two years ago, Diana was chosen from hundreds of nominations to receive the Festival of Learning Outstanding Individual Learner award while studying at DMU.
As a child she was taken in to care and regularly had to move home and change schools. While she didn’t get the support that she needed, Diana’s experience of living in care motivated her to be the best that she could be.
She worked hard throughout school, achieving 10 A*- B grades at GCSE. Diana excelled in music, learning to play many instruments including the piano, flute, guitar, alto saxophone, drums, clarinet and violin, and played in a youth orchestra.
Having had a difficult upbringing before being in care, Diana is passionate about helping other children at risk and currently works several days a week at a children’s residential home, supporting young people aged from six to 17.
“People have been staying at home since March and many students have been unable to return to campus since January. It has been strange and quiet since then.
“There are staff around and they have been supportive towards me but you cannot get around the fact that it has still been a very different experience this year.”
Diana added: “I thought the portrait was really good. It looked like me - which I guess is what’s important.”
The One Show handed the finished portraits to Hugo Worthy, who is curator at The Leicester Gallery at De Montfort University.
Hugo said: ““We are thrilled that Leicester Gallery has been gifted Adebanji’s drawing of our city residents including one of our own students, Diana. As it enters our collection it will become a way for us to remember and represent individual experiences during these strange times”
The One Show also filmed around the city centre, in front of the Richard III statue at Leicester Cathedral, along The Lanes and in Town Hall Square.
You can watch The One Show on BBC One tonight, at 7pm. You can see more of Adebanji’s work here
Posted on Tuesday 23rd February 2021