Seeking to portray the diversity and individuality within issues affecting women in modern society, John Therry Rosemeadow student, Jacinta D’Cunha, created her HSC Visual Arts body of work, ‘Dear Sisters….in Solidarity’. Its artistic quality, visual impact and timely message have seen it selected from almost 9,000 artworks across the state to not only be exhibited at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from today, but win her the exhibition’s prestigious S&S Creativity Award, too.
ARTEXPRESS is one of the most dynamic and popular annual exhibitions of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, featuring a selection of the most outstanding student 2018 HSC Visual Arts works from schools across New South Wales, including ceramics, documented forms, drawing, graphic design, painting, photomedia, printmaking, sculpture, textiles and fibre, time-based forms and collection of works.
D’Cunha’s is one of approximately 200 bodies of work that has been selected this year as part of nine ARTEXPRESS 2019 exhibitions across metropolitan and regional NSW galleries - the principal venue with the very best works being the Art Gallery of New South Wales, where ‘Dear Sisters….in Solidarity’ work will be displayed from 7 February – 25 April. It will also exhibit at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre from 11 May – 30 June, and the Tamworth Regional Gallery from 3 August – 22 September.
The 18 year old said it was a “surreal feeling” to know her own work would be on show at one of the country’s largest art galleries, and even more so, that it was singled out from the collection for this year’s S&S Creativity Award.
“I’ve always considered art to be of great importance in my life, so I’m very happy and grateful that my body of work has been chosen to be part of ARTEXPRESS 2019 and selected for the S&S Creativity Award. It feels like an honour and a great privilege, thinking that my art has been acknowledged in this way and will be presented in the same place as some amazing works and artists” - Jacinta D’Cunha
“This came as a big shock to me, as it was something that I dreamed of but never actually imagined coming true. I tried my best to create a piece of art that represented my greatest efforts and something I’m passionate about, so it is great feeling that this paid off!”
The Rosemeadow student created her body of work with Prismacolour pencils on 100% cotton A5 sheets. Each of the twenty female portraits took approximately 5 hours or longer to complete, depending on the detail and colours required for the facial features.
“I was interested in capturing the importance of individuality and personal identity. I sought a way of projecting the injustice between genders across diverse backgrounds, through the identification cards of the women in my work,” D’Cunha said.
“I incorporated a recurring theme of the ‘Time’s Up’ campaign, which brings awareness of women victimised by harassment and inequality in different workforces. This is shown in my artwork through the symbolic black, varying uniforms of the women and the use of whistles to metaphorically communicate a need to end injustice in the workplace.
“I have always loved the visual arts since I began studying it at school. I love that it allows people to express their individualistic interpretations and expressions of the world, and that artworks have the ability to be understood in various ways by its audience. I really enjoy experimenting with different concepts and mediums to create art pieces, and have a deep interest and appreciation for art history.”
John Therry Creative Arts Coordinator, Stephen Peters, praised Jacinta’s gentle, dedicated and down-to-earth good nature for enhancing the development of her art-making.
“Jacinta’s body of work - a societal critique referencing the ‘Time’s Up’ movement - encompasses a range of women of various ethnicities and occupations to address the systemic inequality and injustice at work. It is full of symbolism, comprising various media - twenty drawings, twenty red whistles and numerous ID cards," he said.
“The school is extremely proud of Jacinta. She is a highly organised, intelligent and diligent student, also achieving 96% in HSC Visual Arts and Dux of the school."
“Jacinta’s academic and visual arts achievements are significant for our community, inspiring passionate and creative learners. It also exemplifies how Creative Arts can contribute significantly to a student’s ATAR, if they are passionate enough” - Stephen Peters, John Therry Creative Arts Coordinator
Jacinta credits the John Therry Creative Arts faculty with helping her develop her artistic talent through high school, and a rich tradition of success that has seen the school achieve seventeen ARTEXPRESS student nominations in the last nine years.
“John Therry offers so many creative arts opportunities that encourage students to pursue their artistic talents and interest in visual arts. There is a great variety of resources available to students to explore their creativity and the multi-faceted nature of art, and students can try different expressive forms including photography, drawing, painting, sculpturing and more" - Jacinta D'Cunha
“There’s also creative arts nights at school, excursions to places such as ‘Sculptures by the Sea’, the Art Gallery of NSW, the Campbelltown Arts Centre, and drawing competitions. Over the years, this all greatly helped me discover art, and that drawing was the form that I wanted to incorporate in my major work," she said.
“During my time at John Therry, I also had the privilege of having the best Visual Arts teachers, Mrs Mae O’Brien and Mr Stephen Peters, who always encouraged me to try my best, and offered amazing advice and support with anything art-related. They were the biggest help to my artistic talent and development, particularly in my senior years for my major work.”
Following her HSC and summer break, Jacinta is now looking forward to studying a Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science at the University of Sydney this year, with the hope of becoming a veterinarian. But her love of art doesn’t stray far from her mind: “I am open to any future possibilities, art is something I’m really passionate about”.
Congratulations to fellow John Therry HSC 2018 students, Danielle Dalangin-Avery and Kaitlin Hohberg, whose bodies of work, ‘Anacusis (Deafness)’ and ‘Pareidolia’ respectively, were amongst the nominees for this year’s ARTEXPRESS exhibition.
Visit Jacinta’s artwork, ‘Dear Sisters….in Solidarity’, in the following ARTEXPRESS exhibitions:
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney - 7 February – 25 April, 2019
Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, Blue Mountains - 11 May – 30 June, 2019
Tamworth Regional Gallery, Tamworth - 3 August – 22 September, 2019
For more information on the ARTEXPRESS exhibition and 2019 dates, click here.
in the media
Macarthur students artworks accepted in ARTEXPRESS exhibition (Camden Advertiser)