The Art and Design Department at Strathcona aims to build a vibrant and connected artistic and design community through a yearly artist-in-residence program. The purpose of the program is to form a relationship with an artist who works with a specific year level to create a unique artwork at the school over a period of time. The artist works closely with students and teachers, using their own work, cultural background, ideas and skills as the catalyst for students’ own creative explorations. A final collaborative artwork is produced as a result. Working first-hand with an artist provides students with the opportunity to engage with a real-life experience and understanding of how the Arts Industry operates in Australia and demonstrate to our students that the visual arts are a valued part of our community and their education.
In 2020 we choose to work with the artist Nicole van Dijk and the Year 7 cohort. The theme Hope is Not Cancelled was developed to create a mural of students personally meaningful symbols embedded in a larger composition. Students were inspired to explore and reflect on what makes them happy and content in life and create appropriate motifs and imagery based on this theme. These motifs were then used to embellish the larger artwork. Van Dijk used iconic Melbourne artists such as Mirka Mora as inspiration for the students with her childlike and expressively bold shapes and lines.
The artist-in-residency ran as an incursion online. Van Dijk created a series of videos to show how she used mixed media of traditional paint and technology such as Illustrator to generate and develop her distinctive designs. The artist then worked directly with the students in breakout channels to help them individually with their ideas, followed by a live demonstration of how she would use their designs in Illustrator. The students were then invited to hand draw their symbols in bold black markers, to play with digitally drawn black and white shapes and to try working with black paper cut outs to illustrate their ideas.
The Year 7s enjoyed gaining an insight into a professional artist and designer’s creative practice and were so excited to contribute to designs that are now part of the beautiful mural that resides under Canterbury Station.
Head of Art & Design
“‘Hope is not cancelled’ tells an important story of our community’s experience during
the pandemic and it contributes to the broader story of the Boroondara
community through this time. The City of Boroondara was delighted to fund the
installation of this beautiful artwork which can be enjoyed by the community.”
Cr Addis, Mayor City of Boroondara