Visual feast of student work at 2020 ARTEXPRESS

A high-expectations culture from visual arts teachers at Prairiewood High School has paid off with the school claiming a prestigious award at the 2020 ARTEXPRESS exhibition.

11 February 2020
Shantelle Morrison standing in front of her artwork
Image: Shantelle Morrison and her Femininity of the Curve - A celebration of femininity through abstract curved shapes and a feminine, fleshy colour palette.

The school received the 2020 Sir William Dobell Art Foundation award for Excellence in Teaching in a Visual Art faculty in a NSW secondary school.

The award recognises improvement in the visual arts, reflected in a school's performance in ARTEXPRESS exhibitions over the years.

The work of Prairiewood 2019 alumnus Shantelle Morrison was one of 48 artworks featured at the 2020 exhibition, launched this week at the Art Gallery of NSW.

The works were selected from 8,552 student works submitted for the 2019 HSC.

Prairiewood principal Belinda Giudice said the school had five nominations for this year's ARTEXPRESS, building on four from the previous year.

Ms Giudice said credit for the award should go to the school's dedicated visual arts teachers.

"They have a high-expectations culture that's dedicated to developing and nurturing visual arts talent in our school," Ms Giudice said.

Prairiewood High School creative and performing arts head teacher Georgia Valatiadis said studying the arts at school was a great benefit for students across the broad range of academic endeavour.

"I can't stress enough the value of arts in education to instil a range of skills; creative and critical thinking, problem solving, time management and organisation as well as building a student's confidence and resilience," she said.

Dylan Welgemoed standing in front of his black and white artwork
Image: Dylan Welgemoed and his Silver Screen - I wanted to make something entertaining and fun to look at.

Pennant Hills High School student Dylan Welgemoed was also an award winner after receiving the 2020 Julian Ashton Art School Summer Scholarship for his work Silver Screen, a large montage of pen and pencil drawings on card, inspired by popular culture films such as Mad Max and Transformers.

Dylan said it was "pretty cool" the judges were impressed with his work.

"I wanted to make something entertaining and fun to look at; something you can come back to and find something new in every time," Dylan said.

Dylan hoped the scholarship would give him an opportunity to follow an artistic pathway, although he was currently planning to study engineering and commerce.

One of the Art Gallery of NSW's most popular exhibitions, the annual ARTEXPRESS brings the work of the next generation of artists and creative thinkers into the public arena, presenting a snapshot of the passions, curiosities and concerns occupying the minds of young Australians.

The exhibition began in Sydney in the late 1950s and has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW since 1983.

Accomplished artists who have exhibited in ARTEXPRESS include Ben Quilty (1992), David Griggs (1994), McLean Edwards (1990), Melissa Chiu (1990) and Jasper Knight (1996).

ARTEXPRESS is a joint partnership between the NSW Education Standards Authority and the NSW Department of Education in association with the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

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