This desire is certainly being given full recognition in the annual “Archipaul Exhibition” and Art Show at St Paul’s High School, Booragul. The play on the name of the renowned Archibald Portrait Prize has been part of the school’s annual art show since 2000. The event showcases the skill and creativity of every Art student in the school in pursuits such as skateboard design, digital photography, printmaking, sculpture, tattoo art, murals, painting, ceramics and t-shirt design. “All the work you see is generated within the classroom as part of the curriculum, which is what I love about the exhibition,” said Mrs Cathy O’Gorman, Creative Arts and LOTE Co-ordinator at St Paul’s and the driving force behind the show.
With the works of all students included, the display creates a great sense of encouragement and praise amongst the students. “It gives students an opportunity to see creativity, problem solving, hard work, sense of playfulness, skill, imagining, politics, dreaming and risk-taking,” said Mrs O’Gorman. She’s proud of the opportunity offered to staff and students to work in a collegial and supportive manner.
Portraiture is built into the programs for all Visual Arts students. Year 8 students study the Pop Art Movement and use this style for their portraits; Year 10 Visual Design students complete a Magazine Cover Design project using photographic techniques, and senior students use a variety of media including drawing, painting and mixed media.
The Art Show culminates with a display of works for families and the wider community. Hospitality students show off their culinary skills, providing finger food and professional waiting service. Music students delight art enthusiasts by providing light entertainment. HSC Major Works in Design and Technology are displayed prior to the commencement of the Art Show. All this demonstrates the wonderfully supportive nature and seemingly endless energy of the staff and students.
The awards and prizes are judged by the capable and professional teachers in the Visual Arts faculty. There are monetary and art supply prizes for the winners to the value of $800. Mr John Clunes and S & S Creative Art Supplies are generous supporters. There are awards for those highly commended and encouragement awards for artists showing potential. The major winners were Rhiannon Baynham (junior) and Kaylee O’Brien (senior). The coveted “Archipaul” has an overall winner and a People’s Choice Award. This year’s runner-up was Alanna Carew with her stunning three-dimensional painting of popstar, Sia. For the first time, the overall winner and People’s Choice Award went to the same artist. Cameron Cherry’s beautifully detailed biro on canvas portrait of Australian electronica musician Chet Faker dazzled both the judges and the art lovers on the evening. Cameron used a precise grid method honed by Chuck Close and the work certainly shows the patience and vision behind Cameron’s artistic flair.
All Archipaul winners have their works permanently displayed in “Archipaul Way”. It is certainly a privilege to be able to walk past these beautiful and amazing pieces each day.
Margaret Walker teaches at St Paul's High School.
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