Art gives a voice to students

Young people overcoming adversity have opened up to share with Brisbane their stories of trial, tragedy and triumph in a thought-provoking art exhibition.

In the 70-piece display, Carinity Education – Southside students question how genuine people are, assess the impossible, and make bold statements about culture, from a perspective often not considered in mainstream Australia.

The exhibition, on display at the St Andrews War Memorial Hospital, is an initiative of Wesley Mission Brisbane’s Art for the Margins (ATFM) program.

The timing coincides with next week’s NAIDOC Week celebrations, which recognise the contribution of Indigenous Australians in a variety of fields.

Some of the artwork has Indigenous themes, and Carinity Education – Southside Principal, Christine Hill, says that provides important insight.

“Indigenous art is an expression of some of the students’ culture, and a key component of their tradition. There is a great deal of symbolism in the work the students produce,” Mrs Hill said.

“Art is a subject which encourages and develops the creativity of our students. It can also be very therapeutic for our students to express themselves in a visual medium.”

The chance to hold an exhibition was awarded to Carinity Education – Southside from St Andrew’s Hospital during last year’s AFTM Brisbane Festival – the award is given annually to support and encourage Indigenous artists.

The Indigenous themes of many of the artwork, and the perspectives of the artists, is a fitting way to mark NAIDOC week, says Andrew Barron, St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital’s Acting General Manager.

“We are delighted to be able to display these fantastic works by young artists, who are sharing their ideas and stories through their work, to help us celebrate NAIDOC week,” he said.

“By recognising the talents of these students and providing an outlet for their work to be displayed and highlighted, we are not only supporting our local community but creating a more welcoming environment for patients, families and staff.”

Carinity Education – Southside is an independent girls’ school which provides secondary school education, vocational training and mentoring for students who struggle in traditional schooling.

Its staff are passionate about caring for their students, many of whom have already faced a great deal of sadness and adversity.

Art students at the school have previously created a 25 metre mural which all cruise ship passengers pass at the Port of Brisbane.

Mrs Hill says opportunities like this exhibition provide valuable experience for students, as well as a stage to express themselves.

“The opportunity for learning in real-life contexts like this produces the best results from our students. With so many serious issues to deal with, our young women need to know what they produce is for a purpose,” she said.

The exhibition includes acrylic paintings, photographs, ink, watercolours and mixed media works.

The not-for-profit community art program Art from the Margins bridges the gap between isolated and disadvantaged artists and the community.

“It’s fantastic that our program can link with these students and support them on their artistic journey,” Manager Tony Anderton said.

“Each of these girls has a powerful story to tell and really challenge viewers of their art with views that might otherwise remain unheard.”

The works are available to purchase from $40, and are on display until Wednesday, August 7.


The free exhibition is open to the public from July 5th until August 7th at Level 1, St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital, 457 Wickham Tce, Springhill

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