Art North 2020

13 October 2020

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS (Ku-ring-gai) (18:19:48): Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of officially opening the Art North 2020 exhibition located on the grounds of Abbotsleigh at the Grace Cossington Smith Gallery. Art North is an annual exhibition showcasing the extraordinary talent of HSC visual art students in all of the high schools in the Ku-ring-gai and Hornsby district. I thank the teachers and staff of Abbotsleigh who dedicate their resources each year in support of the broader school community. It goes without saying how magnificent the pieces of art were this year. Thirty-five students across 19 schools were selected. They submitted superb artwork that provided insights into issues our students find important in today's society.

The participating schools for the 2020 HSC year include: Abbotsleigh, Asquith Boys High, Asquith Girls High, Barker College, Cheltenham Girls High, Cherrybrook Technology High, Hornsby Girls High, Knox Grammar School, Ku-ring-gai High, Loreto Normanhurst, Masada College, Mt St Benedict College, Normanhurst Boys High, Northholm Grammar, Pymble Ladies' College, Ravenswood School for Girls, St Ives High, St Leo's Catholic College and Turramurra High School. Comments made by these young artists about their art and the process creating them reminded me of a video I had watched of Paul McCartney of the Beatles who told the story of how he wrote the song Yesterday. He said that one day he woke up with a tune in his head and humming the tune asked John, George and Ringo and their producer George Martin what song it was, which no one knew. It was not until after two weeks of doing this, he realised that it was not anyone else's song but his own. He said the tune and the words were something from within him that needed to come out.

That story reminded me of the students showcasing their works at the Art North Exhibition and their explanations for how they created their art. Daniel Wilson did a series of landscapes that were purely imaginative based on subconscious imagery that played through his mind. Jessica Silba from St Leo's Catholic College said her concept in her artwork was the importance and the ability of the mind to be creative and resourceful. Lua Pellegrini from Loreto Normanhurst explored the inextricable connection between the past, present and future fundamental in Aboriginal culture. When we look at art we see various things within our young people. Their reflections on their family, their thoughts on political issues, our ever-evolving environment as well as the role of social media are represented.

One young artist, Enoch Mak from Normanhurst Boys High, eloquently produced a piece exploring how society is so transfixed by modern technology they would not know if a deity appeared next to them on a train. He stated if Jesus were alive today, he too would suffer from the same technological affliction. We see country settings and urban images. There is a tremendous amount of diversity and a range of media through textures, tones, colour, movement and lines. These works celebrate the artistic strength in our local area. The Art North Exhibition entrants are each worthy to be in the statewide ArtExpress. Five excellent art students from the Ku‑ring‑gai electorate were selected to showcase their HSC art works at the Art Express Exhibit located at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, along with 43 other participants.

From 8,552 submissions from schools across metropolitan and regional New South Wales, the works provide an insight into our young people's creative minds and issues important to them. Congratulations to Catherine Jones from Pymble Ladies' College, Alice Maltman from Ravenswood, Hugo Morgan from Knox Grammar, Jessica Nagy from Abbotsleigh and Charlotte Stuart from Barker College who were all selected. I congratulate all 2019 HSC students who were selected to showcase their work at both the Art North and Art Express exhibitions. It is an outstanding accomplishment and they have much to be proud of. Displaying art is an extremely brave thing to do, because it is something that others examine and naturally critique. There was a lot of enthusiastic response to all art on show, from paintings to documented forms, photo media, ceramics, sculpture, textiles and graphic design, to name a few. Every year the students' work delights and exceeds my expectations. COVID-19 has forced us to experience a very different time, particularly for our young people. It will be excellent to see what artworks they produce this year.