Canley Vale High School wins Sir William Dobell Art Foundation Award

All smiles: Monica Trieu with her piece of art.
All smiles: Monica Trieu with her piece of art.

When asked what it meant to have her artwork selected for Artexpress 2019, Monica Trieu’s language was simple and straight to the point: “Unbelievable. Amazed. A huge shock.”

It’s in stark contrast to her piece titled The unseen casualties which has subverted Chinese written text, creating a new language with no translation where the audience may experience difficulties in comprehending what is written.

Her work – a combination of ink drawings and print works –highlights her lack of understanding of her Chinese culture, combined with the global issue of climate change. The bleaching of coral is meant to symbolise the bleaching of Chinese culture.

“I wanted to focus on an environmental issue and one that I was concerned about was climate change and coral bleaching, but I also wanted to focus on my culture,” she said.

“Throughout my whole I have felt a disconnection from my culture, not really fully understanding the language which is a problem for my generation so I wanted to combine them together.

“I have a Chinese background but growing up in Australia made it really hard to fully learn the language so I can’t really communicate that well with my elders and parents which is a concern for me.”

Her work was inspired by traditional landscape painting from ancient China and took her more than 100 hours to complete.

She said the reactions to her piece at the exhibition opening last week made all the early morning and late nights “all worthwhile.”

The Edensor Park resident wants to continue her art while undertaking a science degree at Macquarie University this year.

“It’s unbelievable. I looked at the other artworks online the other night and just thought, ‘Wow, how did mine even get in here’,” she said.

“I have been drawing since a young age; I find it very therapeutic.”

:Monica Trieu and teacher Angela Stojanovski.

:Monica Trieu and teacher Angela Stojanovski.

The 18-year-old was one of two Canley Vale High School students selected for the exhibition that showcases outstanding works created by NSW students for their HSC visual arts examination. 

Celine Luu’s work  Deterioration of the mind  – a series of drawing of bones that symbolises obstacles in life  – also made the shortlist of 56 artworks selected for the exhibition from the 8770 student works submitted for the 2018 HSC.

The pair helped the school’s visual arts faculty receive the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation Award.

Canley Vale High School head visual arts teacher Angela Stojanovski praised the hard work of the students.

“We worked so hard together as a team. The students took on board advice and they really came through with their artworks,” Ms Stojanovski said.

“It was definitely an art-making process where they developed and channelled through influence from other artists and really dug deep to complete these artworks.”

Blast from the past: Jane Asher, 18, of Smithfield, with the two elements of her art work – the book and the video.

Blast from the past: Jane Asher, 18, of Smithfield, with the two elements of her art work – the book and the video.

Fairfield students account for five of the artworks on display at Artexpress 2019 until April 25.

Prairiewood High School students Leila Khazma (Ephemeral Earth) and Molly Revoltar (Ornithology) were also selected as was Fairvale High School’s Jane Asher piece titled Deceased estate.

Her work shows the two sides of her grandparents deceased estate.

“Firstly by giving an insight into their lives in the book through symbols and then by using the video to showcase the holistic, current abandonment of the house” she said.

The book is a series of photos and resembles a journal of the past. The video presents the full extent of the emptiness and decay. Jane worked closely with her mum to discover things she never knew about her grandparents for the project which she began last year.