…aka the Senior Secondary Art Students Survey Show
Last Friday was the opening of Identity: SSASSEy08 at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery – a show featuring the work of Year 11 students from Eden Marine High, Bega High, Bombala High and the Sapphire Coast Anglican College.
A broad mix of 2-D, 3-D and photomedia pieces, the exhibition was opened by old Bega High School boy Richard Moffat, local sculptor and serious-success-story/role-model in Arts Biz Inc. (And all round lovely bloke, besides.)
The launch attracted a large turn out of peeps, despite some punishing distances (especially for the Bombala crew), and the work was received with great delight – particularly by the participating students, for whom this was their exhibiting debut.
For your further edification, here’s the gallery blurb:
The NSW HSC Arts Curricula consists of two distinctive phases: Preliminary (Year 11) and HSC (Year 12). The former – it goes without saying – is designed to lay the preparatory foundation for the all important latter year. It is set quite deliberately in the context of a postmodern frame – the aim being to foster a culture of informed critical practice which will empower students to challenge the doctrines of mainstream convention and push them to examine accepted (often conservative) artistic traditions.
Through the use of irony, parody and quotation, they are proactively encouraged to re-conceptualise artworks; to modify, reinterpret or appropriate images from a variety of sources, and investigate new technologies in a bid question the very nature of ‘what constitutes art’. Year 11, in other words, is a time of artistic license and latitude. It is a period of trial and error, of sketch and play, before the inevitable and definitive pressure of the HSC is brought to bear.
The exhibition Identity:SSASSEy08is all of the above. Featuring the Preliminary artwork of senior students from Bega High, Bombala High, Eden Marine High and the Sapphire Coast Anglican College, this show is clearly representative of those tentative steps that prelude the discovery of a distinctive creative voice. Art, above all else, is a form of self-expression – and the students in this show are literally teetering on the cusp of self-discovery and autonomy. They are just beginning to comprehend a sense of the breadth of opportunity that goes hand in hand with maturity and self-determination.
Identity:SSASSEy08 is not a selected exhibition – the object of the exercise being to provide the students with a genuine exhibiting experience. A practice run for the following year, if you like. An exhibition in the Regional Gallery provides an experience that will connect them not only with the audience and the machinations of professional curatorial practice, but also demonstrate the innumerable practicalities that are part and parcel of an ongoing commitment to a serious arts practice.
Meanwhile here’s a quick peep at the show - which will be up until the 21st March. If you’re in Bega, drop in and check it out…
(click to enlarge)