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Park News

Largest ARTEXPRESS exhibition displays student resilience during COVID-19

03 Mar 2021


Ruby Newell sitting in front of her artwork

The largest collection of student artworks from the 2020 HSC Visual Art examinations is on display at ARTEXPRESS at the Armory, capturing the expression of young artists, who created bodies of work amidst the catastrophic Australian bushfires and the unprecedented impacts of the global pandemic. 

The exhibition held at the Sydney Olympic Park Armory Gallery displays challenging and inspiring artworks from 59 of NSW’s best young artists.

The FREE exhibition is themed Threads of Connection and uncovers the connection between students through their universal shared experiences of the past year including the challenges of creating these major artworks with remote learning and social distancing.

“Several artists have found inspiration from the unpredictability of life and a reassessment of the way we have lived and interacted in society,” shared ARTEXPRESS at the Armory curator Danielle Gullotta.

“The bodies of work draw our attention to the impacts of technology and variations in climate addressing imbalances in the natural world, and seeking an understanding of the importance of the threads of social connections for our collective wellbeing.”

Amani Al-Bahghdadi from Strathfield Girls High School is one of the 59 students featured in ARTEXPRESS at the Armory with her piece Progession of the Wind-swept Willow.

Amani with her artwork“My intent in my body of work was to capture a moment in time, by making a juxtaposition between rapid movement and delicate still life. This work expresses the developmental aspect of life and the concept of progression within nature,” said Amani. “The audience can inspect the intricate fine wiring representing windswept willow trees.”

Initially Amani enjoyed her time working on her sculpture from home but that quickly turned more challenging.

“At first, it was pleasant since I had more time to dedicate to my sculpture during our quarantine. However, it quickly became difficult as I had run out material, as it was left at school, and I was completely uninspired,” said Amani.

“Restricted indoors was very difficult in creating art and new concepts as I am 
accustomed to gaining inspiration from nature. When I found out my artwork would be included in ARTEXPRESS, I felt very proud of myself, as I had 
Nicholas O'Brien with drawing
worked hard on this artwork. I was happy to see that my hard work had finally paid off.”

The exhibition features a wide choice of expressive forms including paintings, drawings, sculptures, printmaking, ceramics, photography and digital media.

In 2020, over 8,600 students took part in the HSC Visual Art examination. A selection of works by these students will appear in a series of ARTEXPRESS exhibitions across NSW, including Sydney Olympic Park Armory Gallery, Art Gallery of NSW, Hazelhurst Arts Centre and Goulburn Regional Art Gallery.

Sydney Olympic Park Authority in association with the NSW Department of Education and the NSW Education Standards Authority is proud to have presented ARTEXPRESS for 17 years as an important arts and educational program.

The free ARTEXPRESS exhibition at Sydney Olympic Park is open to visitors daily from 2 March – 25 April 2021 from 10am – 4pm.