What an amazing way to open our HSC Visual Arts Showcase exhibition! On the evening of August 16, we had the pleasure of seeing the culmination of all the hard work put in throughout the year by our Year 12 Visual Arts students. Our Guest of Honour, Dr. Gene Sherman eloquently opened the show with a deeply considered speech on the importance of creativity and visual cultures in our contemporary world.
Dr. Sherman then presented our three prizes for the night - The S&S prize for Display of Technical Sensitivity awarded to Joel Shagrin, the Eckersly's prize for Articulation of Ideas and Concepts awarded to Jemima Firestone Greville, and The Emanuel School Visual Arts Acquisition Prize awarded to Ricky Blank.
Somehow, around two hundred guests crammed into our Angles Leadership & Learning Centre to view the artworks. The night was beautifully catered for by the senior Emanuel School Hospitality team and was directly followed by the HSC Drama Showcase in the Millie Phillips Theatre.
>> To view the students' final bodies of work, download the catalogue and watch the short movie on their creative processes; access our 2017 Year 12 page on this site.
In many ways, for a student, learning can seem entirely about deciphering rules, structures, disciplines and frameworks; and these are all valuable lessons. Though, as we learn these structures, we are also faced with choices between our compliance and divergence within them. When do I obey and when do I rebel? The creative process navigates us through our learning, in a way that somehow synthesises these opposing impulses.
When a student of Visual Arts arrives at their final year, they confront a unique undertaking. The Visual Arts ‘body of work’ needs to engage in and in turn communicate significant conceptual investigations of self and of the world around us. It needs to do so through the manipulation of a broad spectrum of materials and techniques and engage with the historical and contemporary contexts that ultimately inform all artists and their audiences. With this brief, students face an empty space; a ‘blank canvas’. They must conceive and define their subject matter. They must develop their aesthetics and skill sets. They must cultivate and refine what will become their fundamental artistic practice.
The creative process that has driven each of the artworks in this year’s HSC Showcase is also the force that continues to fuel our cultural momentum. As such, it stands as a most valuable and essential human attribute, and one that each of the artists herein have embraced.