Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong is proud to launch the Director’s Art Gallery 2018, showcasing a selection of exceptional artworks produced by secondary students from Years 8 to 12.
The Director's Art Gallery was officially launched in a ceremony on Monday 25 June at the Catholic Education Office Marian Centre in Wollongong, where sixteen talented artists were recognised from four of our systemic secondary schools. The event was attended by principals, teachers, students and their families, together with staff from the Catholic Education office.
The Director’s Art Gallery celebrates and showcases the great diversity of student art making incorporating a range of media areas including photography, drawing and painting, and a broad range of subject matters and styles. Each artwork providing insights into the students’ inspirations and the issues that are significant to them.
The Director of Schools, Mr Peter Turner, welcomed guests to the important gathering, relaying the ceremony is a "much anticipated" event on the organisation’s calendar in celebration of outstanding student ability, well enjoyed by hundreds of staff and visitors who regularly come into the Marian Centre.
“This is a significant showing of your talent. Today is about honouring that and thanking you. You often hear the notion of art appreciation, appreciation is really important. Not only do we appreciate your art, and your expression of your artistic talent, but we show appreciation for you and that gifts you have,” Mr Turner said.
“As you move through your secondary school life, and for those of you in Year 12 getting to the end of that, as you move towards taking your place in the adult world, I would urge you all to take the gifts that you have with you on the remainder of that journey, don’t leave these behind at school.
“I encourage you to embrace it, to nurture it and to celebrate it. Regardless what you choose to do in your world beyond school, regardless of what that might be, always be an artist. You each have the gift, it’s part of who you are and it is what we acknowledge and celebrate today.”
St Joseph’s Catholic High School, Albion Park
Lara De Oliveira, Amy Gouveia, Erin Hobbs and Kieara Quintal
Holy Spirit College, Bellambi
Renee Collins, William Innis, Femke Keywood and Abby Ryan.
Magdalene Catholic High School, Narellan
Jack Beeby, Kaneisha Cox, Christina David and Shaela Harrison.
St John the Evangelist Catholic High School, Nowra
Fiona-Lucia Edwards, Chrishine Finkenagel, Katelyn O’Mullane and Maya Tavener.
Students were invited to present their artworks to attendees, explaining the significance of subject matter, colour and techniques, notably some students embracing a perhaps daunting public speaking opportunity, to speak freely - beyond their written description - about what moved them to create their artworks.
Listen below to hear some of the students talk about their art and also their feelings about the recognition ceremony.
To further acknowledge their success, each student was presented with a framed certificate. The ceremony also recognised the school’s Visual Arts teachers, highlighting the critical role they play in building student confidence in art making, evidenced in the high standard of works on display in the exhibition.
Year 11 Magdalene student, Shaela Harrison, reflected “It was quite a surprise, I didn’t think that I would be chosen for the exhibition. It’s really nice for our art to be shown to everyone after all the work we’ve all put in, particularly to people outside of our schools. My art teacher (Cath Delaney) was also very excited for me to have this opportunity.”
Trisha Cunningham, from the Office of the Director, was significantly credited for her wonderful coordination of the exhibition, noting the importance she places on supporting our students.
In closing, Peter Turner spoke about the role of art in society and about the importance and relevance of the study of Visual Arts in the lives of students: “Art influences the society in which we live because it changes opinions, instilling values and translating experiences across space and time.
“Art is a special way of communicating. It allows people from different cultures and different times to communicate with each other through images, sounds and stories. Art is often a vehicle for a better world. Art is the key to unlocking mystery, self-awareness and emotion, and that today is what we celebrate.”
After the official ceremony, the students and their guests enjoyed a special morning tea, together with much conversation about their art. Visual Arts teacher, Tammie Castles, from St John’s shared, “For St John’s, we’re quite remote, so it's really nice for the students, especially in art, to get together because in sport for example, they tend to come together, but not for arts events. It was a really proud moment when the students got up to speak, to see their excitement in showing their artworks. It has been an excellent opportunity.”
In speaking with the student artists, many cited how nice it was to have their talent and work formally recognised. Many students also said the acknowledgement has given them increased confidence to continue with their art including Year 8 Magdalene student, Kaneisha Cox, one of the youngest students recognised this year, also winning a prize for her exhibition piece at the Camden Show this year.
Attendees were impressed to see the creative thinking and outstanding standard of art produced by student artists in our learning environments, resulting in a professional - and joyful - exhibition.
The artworks will be on exhibition at the Marian Centre until late next term. Congratulations again to these talented students.