Painted wooden cutting boards, pointillism style painting and threaded gold wire were amongst the creative and innovative techniques used in the winning artworks to bring the spirit of Christmas alive at the 2022 Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong (CEDoW) Christmas Story Art Competition.
After two years as a virtual event, students, parents and staff from Catholic primary schools across the diocese gathered together once more for the anticipated exhibition launch at the Wollongong Art Gallery on Wednesday 12 October which will be on public display in the Community Access Gallery (Level 4) until 22 November.
Year 5 and 6 students put their artistic talents to good use, bringing some of the magic of Christmas to life for their school communities with their outstanding entries in the much loved event. Judges had the difficult task of assessing the 164 entries, with 41 pieces shortlisted for the exhibit.
View each students’ artwork up close and hear an audio reflection of the student describing their artwork, and understanding and interpretation of their chosen scripture verse in our 2022 CHRISTMAS STORY ART EXHIBITION 2022 GALLERY.
Once again, this year’s entries consisted of a diverse range of creative techniques, including wood painting, mosaic, and stencilling, demonstrating both a depth of originality and reflective thinking from the talented students, who, with the support of their dedicated teachers - produced some outstanding pieces of work, giving life to the transformative themes of Advent and Christmas.
Zoe Reeves, a Year 5 student at St Justin’s Catholic Parish Primary School, Oran Park, one of the budding student artists who had the honour of having her work exhibited, was named winner of the Bishop’s Choice Award for her artwork titled ‘‘A King is Born’.
“I was shocked and surprised when I heard my name,” said Zoe. “I felt honoured to be chosen by someone as special as Bishop Brian. I am so glad he could see how I portrayed the love between Mary and Jesus in my artwork.”
Now in its 17th year, the Christmas Story Art Exhibition and Competition is an initiative of the Catholic Education Office in Wollongong and Sydney Catholic Schools, and aims to showcase students’ artistic and creative ability to explore the deeper meaning of the Christmas story.
Jo Kenny, Head of Service, Catholic Life, Education and Mission team, said the Christmas Story Art Exhibition and Competition is an exciting opportunity for students to engage and express their faith.
"The Christmas Story Art Competition and Exhibition gives students an opportunity to explore the deeper meaning of the Christmas story through scripture and reflect on that message through the experiences of their own lives,” said Mrs Kenny.
“The great gift for all of us is the insight and inspiration we receive through the window of the students' eyes, catching a glimpse of their spirituality" - Jo Kenny, Head of Service, Catholic Life, Education and Mission
Director of Schools, Diocese of Wollongong, Peter Hill, was delighted to open the exhibition in person, praising the outstanding quality of the work from these committed budding artists, and the encouragement and support of their dedicated, creative teachers.
“I am seriously impressed,” said Mr Hill. “I don’t recall being able to articulate such a deep understanding of the birth of Christ and our wider faith story when I was 11 or 12 years old, and I certainly wasn’t capable of expressing it as beautifully as each of you have.
“While it’s true that an image can express a thousand words, there is something truly special about hearing the artists express their individual encounter with their God in their own words.”
The words of praise from Mr Hill were echoed by Jenny Jancetic, Creative Arts Teacher at Good Samaritan Catholic Primary School, Fairy Meadow, who was moved by the young students’ ability to express such a “deep understanding of the Christmas story so beautifully in their art-making.”
“The students' personal connections to the scriptures were unique and beautiful- sometimes profound; stories of sadness, hope and joy,” she said. “The Opening Night of the exhibition was very special for our students and their families and I'm sure a night they will always remember. The beaming smiles of our award winners and proud tears of their parents were a sign of how much this significant achievement and recognition meant to them.”
Congratulations to the following students who received the four major awards of the night:
BISHOP’S CHOICE AWARD
Zoe Reeves - Year 5, St Justin’s Catholic Primary School, Oran Park
Zoe’s artwork titled ‘A King is Born’ was inspired by the scripture ‘Birth of Christ’ (Matthew 1:18-25) and the moment Jesus was born and was held by his mother, Mary.
“This caring love is the same love my mother had for me when she first held me in her arms at the hospital, the same love that continues everyday.” said Zoe. “My art work helps me understand the connection between Jesus and his mother which opens my heart. My artwork was inspired by Frida Kahlo. Even though she had a tragic life, she used bright colours in her artworks to bring joy and hope to people who admired her.”
DIRECTOR’S CHOICE AWARD
London Campbell - Yr 5, St Joseph's Catholic Parish Primary School, Bulli
The Director’s Choice Award was awarded to St Joseph's Catholic Parish Primary School, Bullistudent London Campbell, for his artwork titled ‘The Chosen One’.
London’s artwork represents the journey Mary, as the chosen one, took to fulfil God’s plan and give birth to Jesus. By keeping Mary faceless, London illustrates we can all be the face of Mary at Christmas time.
“I have used the technique of pointillism style painting to show Mary’s perspective of the birth of Jesus,” said London. “The individual dots plotted close together also represent the feelings of confusion, bravery, fear and honour she experienced during this time. She would have faced many worries leading up to the birth, as a young woman who accepted that she was the ‘Chosen One’.”
CATHOLICCARE ‘STAR OF HOPE’ AWARD
Isaac Stone - Year 6, Good Samaritan Catholic Primary School, Fairy Meadow
CatholicCare Wollongong ‘Star of Hope Award’ was awarded to Isaac Stone, from Good Samaritan Catholic Primary School, Fairy Meadow.
Inspired by his sister, Isaac’’s artwork titled ‘Imogen’s Star’ illustrates how precious new life is, and the gifts of joy and hope we received through the birth of Jesus.
“I was blessed to have had my sister for only a short time and the gift of her life changed my life,” said Isaac. “I feel that God chose our family to bring us Imogen as a gift of joy. And like the star that shone as a symbol of hope for the Wise Men, Imogen’s spirit continues to shine for me.”
Isaac’s moving artwork was created through the technique of stencilling, using a round placemat and acrylic paint. Gold wire was threaded through the design to show the brilliant light shining from the mystical star. “I made the star big just as my sister’s heart was,” said Isaac.
PACKING ROOM PRIZE
Chloe Olima - Year 6 Good Samaritan Catholic Primary School, Fairy Meadow
This year’s ‘Packing Room Prize” was awarded to Year 6 student, Chloe Olima from Good Samaritan Catholic Primary School, Fairy Meadow
Chloe’s artwork titled ‘Balthasar, Gaspar & Melchior’ was inspired by Matthew’s scripture (2:9-12)‘Then, opening their treasure chests they offered him gifts of gold frankincense and myrrh’.
The three kings in Chloe's artwork represent the three kings in her life; her father, grandfather and great grandfather. “Since the day I was born they have enriched my life with precious gifts,” said Chloe. “ My grandfather and great grandfather were both carpenters, which is why I chose to paint on timber. When I designed the pattern of Balthasar’s robe, I wanted to honour my Dad’s East African heritage as well as his artistic influence on me.”
The following fourteen talented finalists have had their artworks selected to represent the Diocese of Wollongong in the upcoming Sydney Christmas Story Art Competition hosted by the Archdiocese of Sydney. We congratulate all students on their achievements and wish our finalists the very best of luck in the Sydney competition.
YEAR 6 FINALISTS
|Eva Alvarado||St Paul’s Catholic Parish Primary School, Camden|
|Zoey Van Moolenbroek||St John’s Catholic Parish Primary School, Dapto|
|Daniella Leuzzi||Mary Immaculate Catholic Parish Primary School, Eagle Vale|
|Chloe Kovac||Mary Immaculate Catholic Parish Primary School, Eagle Vale|
|Chloe Olima||Good Samaritan Catholic Primary School, Fairy Meadow|
|Isaac Stone||Good Samaritan Catholic Primary School, Fairy Meadow|
|Evelyn Poppleton||St Clare’s Catholic Parish Primary School, Narellan Vale|
|Chloe Forester||St Thomas More Catholic Parish Primary School,, Ruse|
YEAR 5 FINALISTS
|London Campbell||St Joseph's Catholic Parish Primary School, Bulli|
|Audrey Buda||St Paul’s Catholic Parish Primary School, Camden|
|Temperence Antunovich-Powers||St John’s Catholic Parish Primary School, Dapto|
|Darcy Haynes||St Michael’s Catholic Parish Primary School, Mittagong|
|Anne Malhiers||St Justin’s Catholic Parish Primary School, Oran Park|
|Zoe Reeves||St Justin’s Catholic Parish Primary School, Oran Park|
HIGHLY COMMENDED AWARDS
Six deserving students were recipients of a ‘Highly Commended’ award for their artistic achievement and understanding of the Christmas Scripture. Congratulations to the following students:
YEAR 6 HIGHLY COMMENDED
|St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Parish Primary School, Bowral|
|Noemi Branchi||Stella Maris Catholic Parish Primary School, Shellharbour|
|Tori Gearside||St Michael’s Catholic Parish Primary School, Thirroul|
YEAR 5 HIGHLY COMMENDED
|Pia Jochum||St Clare’s Catholic Parish Primary School, Narellan Vale|
|Makayla McAteer||St Clare’s Catholic Parish Primary School, Narellan Vale|
|Lily Farrugia||St Michael’s Catholic Parish Primary School, Nowra|
View each students' artwork up close and hear an audio reflection of the student describing their artwork, and understanding and interpretation of their chosen scripture verse in our 2022 CHRISTMAS STORY ART EXHIBITION 2022 GALLERY.