Next Gen 2013 Opening Address
This is the text of the address given by Ms Audrey
Brown, Director of Catholic Education for the Diocese of Ballarat
at the opening of the Next Gen 2013 exhibition on Friday 1
Ms Brown started with an acknowledgement of the
Wathaurung people as traditional custodians of the land and then
want on to make the following comments.
As a performing arts teacher, I know just how
important the arts can be in providing young people with unique and
multiple ways of exploring, communicating and understanding their
own and others' ideas and feelings.
The arts are one of the many ways that we as
humans define who we are. Each work conveys the spirit of the
artist and something of the community and the culture in which the
artist lives, so I think of art as one way that we come to know
ourselves, our community and our culture more intimately.
In this Next Gen exhibition, we have the privilege
as viewers to experience many different forms, mediums and
approaches to the expressions of what I think must be a remarkable
group of young people…and I'm struck by both the talent and
individuality of each artist and by the collective impact and
thematic expression of the exhibition as a whole.
I've had a delightful hour this afternoon immersed
in the exhibition and I have been impressed by works which
- Provide intelligent commentary about societal and cultural
- Experiment with elements such as light, colour, form, contrast,
space, mood, texture and depth
- Play with and challenge our understanding of the world
- Explore the human form in all its complexity and beauty
I particularly connected today with the works that
prompted me to consider the environment, the elements, or
sustainability; what I usually refer to as stewardship-and I thank
those artists for the challenge they have sent out to us all to be
more conscious of and to tread more lightly on the earth.
There is also quite a strong theme of works which
make political statements or that seek to explore aspects of the
human psyche. These works are thought provoking, often courageous
and occasionally confronting, yet for the most part, they're not
bleak…and it's a particular gift as an artist to address an
unpleasant or difficult issue in a way that provokes thought
without leaving us without hope.
The other aspect of this exhibition which I find
fascinating is what we haven't seen here tonight-the developmental
folios mapping the design process. It intrigues me to see how a
work develops from a tiny seed of an idea and then germinates and
grows into a distinctive completed work. I understand that the
folios are available for school groups when they visit, so I
encourage any current students here tonight to pay attention to
these folios and take heart from the evidence that inspiration can
come from many sources indeed.
The Next Gen exhibition is a wonderful opportunity
for all of us-whether we're artists or art lovers - and I'm very
thankful that I'm part of a community that values artistic
expression so genuinely.
To the team at the Art Gallery of Ballarat-well
done on selecting such an amazing representative group of works and
for mounting an exhibition that will inspire, challenge and
entertain. Your commitment to young artists over the last 18 years
is a true gift to our regional community.
To the Art and Design staff in our region's
schools-keep up the good work. It's obvious to me that your hands
are guiding our young artists to levels of expression and
sophistication that would not have emerged without your wisdom and
support throughout the design process.
To the artists - congratulations on being selected
from the 300 applicants-and thank you for sharing your work with
all of us. Our lives are made richer by the contemplation of your
art, by the ideas that you explore and by the glimpses that you
provide for us into how you see the world.
As a final word, I studied music and made it my
career for many years. It gave me great joy. Whilst music is no
longer my career, it's still a significant and important element of
a balanced life for me. I do hope that each of the young artists
here tonight continues to benefit from the joy and the balance that
comes from using their gifts.
And now - It is with pleasure that I declare the
Next Gen exhibition for 2013 open.
Director of Catholic Education
Diocese of Ballarat
from left to right:
Art Gallery of Ballarat Education Officers Michael Nichols and
Pauline Doran, Next Gen 2013 award recipients - Patrick Anderson,
Courtney McMahon, Olivia Doolan, Sharlene Hannig, Sam Halsall, Emma
Thompson, Ellen Eustice, Elliott Wolstoneholme; and guest speaker
Audrey Brown, Director of Catholic Education Office Ballarat
Diocese. [absent] Hannah Crurlowski and Jackson Phillips