When I entered the perspectives opening night I was hoping to feel some sort of warmth or familial pride. My mum had tears welling up in her eyes because of the shoes I had bought her prior to the event, and I had tears welling up in my eyes because she sat on the chair situated outside instead of entering. There was too many people. I wasn’t enjoying the atmosphere, or all the people I made eye contact with. In short; I had an anxiety attack and left 10 minutes into the exhibition.
The creative process of my artwork could only be described as draining. (Not excessively so – it’s not the biggest struggle I’ve faced and to call it draining in itself is a privilege). I had a hard time developing my concept; my teacher had warned me within the first week to “be considerate of the imagery I used” and we struggled communicating about my idea of exploring the social taboos of menstruation. I found this really frustrating. He and a lot of my peers laughed at my work upon viewing it, which confused me, because it was meant to be about taking periods (or women’s issues in general) seriously. I found myself held back by the limitations of my teacher and peers, and developed my ideas based on how comfortably they responded.
When I got into Perspectives, I didn’t feel as triumphant as I should have. My preconceptions and afterthoughts viewed perspectives as an elitist celebration of art – comparing the work of people across the state who’ve produced art in varying circumstances that would’ve left people advantaged and disadvantaged with the final outcome didn’t seem right. This along with the production of art based on a framework that directed creative expression towards the narrowing outcome of a social commentary, which I know many people struggled with. The briefs had been heavily concentrated on developing art that worked as a vessel for messages – “commentaries” for the first semester and “perspectives” for the next. Additionally, within the context of year 12, a student’s knowledge of worldly issues is generally limited to how much information they have sought after in their own time. If any research in the confines of an art class had taken place, it was toward the visual concept and technical work, more often than not an artist statement would be a string of words composed to fit a marking key. So upon viewing a critical analysis of year 12’s work on a conceptual basis, I can’t say I personally relate. As a participant of 2016’s perspectives I am unsure if it is justified to criticise work on a conceptual level when entries had been pursuing fulfillment of strict curricular premises.
Words by Skye Newton