Zoomers – Excellence in HSC Visual Arts
Congratulations to Harrison Agnew (Year 12 2021) who has had his artwork ‘Legacy’ chosen to be exhibited in Zoomers- Excellence in HSC Visual Arts at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery. Zoomers features over 50 works and showcases best practice in Visual Art Education. Reflecting the collaboration between teachers and students who, in 2021, developed new ways of learning and making art in an online environment.
Ambitious and exciting, Zoomers includes a broad range of approaches to artmaking with expressive forms, including ceramics, drawing, graphic design, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and digital art forms and is sure to inspire. The exhibition will be held from the 9th April until the 13th June 2022. I have included Harrison’s artist statement:
We have been studying Aboriginal histories and cultures in school and as a non-Aboriginal Australian, I was inspired to work with my Aboriginal peers to explore how history and culture impacts them as they seek to live in the world today. I wanted my work to reflect the relationship to the past and, hopefully, to point the way towards the future, where Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people can recognise the importance of history to a future of reconciliation.
Each person carries a history with them, even if they do not know it fully. As Australians, we all have a responsibility to seek to understand this legacy. In this artwork, I communicate my model’s story and his pride in his own Aboriginal culture. His story centres around loss of cultural identity at an early age and shame because of bullying, to coming to a place of pride and acknowledgement of the past as valuable to his sense of self and identity.
Working on this project has helped me to understand how early colonial issues of the dispossession of Aboriginal people continues to impact the movement for reconciliation today and that it is only through accepting the past and learning from it that we can all be fully ourselves.
The ‘Legacy’ of colonisation is reflected through my material practice in the choice of connecting past media to the present. The texture of the photos alludes to the texture of 19th Century early carte-de-visite, but transformed through them with the added dramatic lighting creating a seriousness in the composition that reflects my models’ own cultural identity. The influence of Ricky Maynard’s choice of camera equipment has had a great impact on my body of work through the use of carte-de-visite forms and features. His portraiture has had an influence on my work but also created an emotional connection, focussing the artwork to aesthetically convey a deeper meaning of the legacy of colonisation on Australian Aboriginal cultures today.
Head of Creative Arts