Building connections and sharing ideas through art

This article was written by Liam Craig, Year 10. Images were taken by Maximilian Hage, Year 9.

Sometimes the beauty of art lies not in the art itself, but the story behind it.

The inaugural House Painting competition saw teams of six students from each Senior School House progressively develop and refine a piece of artwork during lunchtimes over a three week period.

The prompt given was ‘ecology’, focusing specifically on the current environmental landscape of our world, and Houses were encouraged to integrate the mottos and emblems that define their House within the artworks.

The Head of Creative and Performing Arts at Senior School, George Tzikas, described the establishment of the event as being “in the spirit of creativity, and in the name of producing the most interesting, thought provoking and aesthetically moving artworks.”

Collaboration and unification

The competition was exemplified by a unification of Year 9 – 12 students from each House as they engaged in artistic discussions while sharing the common goal of producing a cohesive, stimulating artwork that represented the energy and spirit of their House.

Of the numerous positive outcomes from this competition, the development of communication and collaboration skills throughout the project was the most striking. The teams included students who had not necessarily interacted with each other before so there were challenges in establishing a common language between them.

Teams took varied approaches, and there was a unique energy present in these lunchtime sessions, with some groups choosing to develop their art quietly and deep in thought, communicating through their brush strokes on the canvas, while others were more vocal in their cooperation.

Year 11 Bromby student, Daniel Lunnie, described the “cooperation” and “joint effort” shown by students in every year level in committing themselves to the painting and working with one another towards a completed artwork. In his team, communication skills were illustrated when the group made the decision to use a projector instead of a stencil for their silhouette of a panther, which gave them more equal roles and allowed an equal contribution from everyone.

Powerful and lasting connections were made between students as new friendships and understandings were forged in the creative environment.

Compromise and differences

The House Painting competition gave students who are studying art at VCE level and those who are not the chance to jointly channel their creative energy and get involved. The unrestricted nature of the competition allowed for different minds with different strengths and capabilities to exchange thoughts and ideas about each house’s individual project, and where this journey of designing and painting would take them. It was these differences that contributed to the authenticity of the experience, creating a piece of artwork which truly represents a House, and the relationships students hold with one another.

Every student who represented their House and took part in the Senior School’s first House Painting competition would agree that it was an overwhelmingly positive and rewarding experience.

Deakin House were pronounced as this competition’s first winners, but the rare artistic challenge this affair provided will surely make it a staple of inter-House competition for years to come.