When Hendon student Shemi Black painted a portrait of his younger sister, he never expected that more than a year later it would win a prestigious award.

But it did just that, after the 18-year-old’s art teachers at Hasmonean High School entered him into the Saatchi Gallery/Deutsche Bank Art Prize for Schools Exhibition competition.

He won £2,000 prize money for himself, and £10,000 for his school to spend on art and computer equipment.

“I’m very pleased, it was a big shock,“ says Shemi, who celebrated his success with dinner at a kosher restaurant surrounded by his proud family.

And the painting, which took the A Level art student just five hours to complete, has now been bought by the gallery’s owner – Charles Saatchi.

“That came as even more of a shock – he’s very picky,“ he continues. “It is a privilege.“

Painted in oil paint on wooden board, the portrait entitled Little Sister shows Shemi’s sibling, Chani, who is 13 years old.

“The actual painting was done because of her coming of age,“ he explains. “I decided to do it to give to her. Her hands are crossed because she is very confident for the future.“

And Shemi is feeling confident about his future too, as he says winning the Saatchi prize has spurred him on to pursue a career as an artist.

Aged just seven, Shemi was encouraged to draw by his parents. Growing up as part of an artistic family fuelled his enjoyment of painting, and his father, Rabbi Black, is also a talented artist.

“What I enjoy is that I can mimic life and make it into my own thing,“ says the Kenton resident, who draws inspiration from the work of Lucien Freud and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The art department at Hasmonean School has also shaped Shemi’s love of art, and he says the support at school has been “fantastic“.

He explains: “It is very close and warm in the art department, they take it very seriously.“

Kate Weber, director of learning for creative arts at Hasmonean, says: “Over the five years that I have taught Shemi it has been an absolute pleasure and I am so lucky to have been able to watch him develop his incredible talent.“

Next year Shemi hopes to study art in Israel before returning to London to go to art school.

Visit saatchigallery.com for further information about the award.