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Artistic social commentary draws judges’ praisePosted in Archive on Monday, 7 August, 2017

Year 12 visual arts student, Taylor Kolk, has received a Highly Commended award at the 2017 St George’s Art.

In its 15th year, St George’s Art is an exhibition of works by senior art students from schools throughout Western Australia. This year the prestigious exhibition, held at St George’s Cathedral in Perth, showcased 128 artworks.

Taylor’s work, titled Years of the Rabbit, is a reflection on Modern history in China, in particular the cultural revolution (1966-1976). “The commentary I am making in particular is on the ‘one child policy’ implemented in China to control a growing, unsustainable population. This resulted in other societal issues such as an increase in male population and a demand for male babies,” said Taylor. “These ideas are mostly prevalent in my work and gives meaning to the faces especially, and the rabbits. My first idea for this project was the theme of rabbits and their reputation as fast breeders. This was then associated to my interest in Chinese politics, especially the cultural revolution.”

The artwork is a three-dimensional piece consisting of a printed and painted background and sculpted rabbits on pegs to create dimension. The mediums of acrylic, ceramics and wood were used and the layering of different components create interest and balance. “I have made an effort to use a variety of materials and processes all joined by common themes. The rabbits on pegs were aimed to be surrealistic while the background more traditional and reflective of conservative art styles in China,” explained Taylor. The faces are an acknowledgement of Chinese artist Zhang Xiaoping’s Bloodline series. “He was the inspiration for this project. I have appropriated his artwork and given it a place within mine as his series and my own piece share similar ideas.”

Year 11 student, Olivia Mason, exhibited her work, Trapped, which was inspired by her personal beliefs about the pressures and negative expectations and stereotypes that are placed on young boys today. Olivia used wood and acrylic.
The two artworks will now be exhibited in the Angelico Exhibition, which will be officially opened by the Archbishop of Perth, Timothy Costelloe, on 15 August. Works by Year 12 student, Jayde O’Dwyer, Year 11 students Catherine Whitehouse and Sophie Brown, and Year 10 student, Micaela Lazaroo will also be on show in the Angelico Exhibition, which is the visual arts component of the highly regarded annual Catholic Arts Festival.