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    Celebrating art-making
    at school, at home, apart, together
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Welcome to the MacKillop Art Exhibition

The Mackillop Art Exhibition 2021 is the 12th diocesan celebration of art and meaning making in Sandhurst. It was first celebrated in 2010 to mark the canonisation of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. This year the exhibition will be held in the magnificent Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bendigo as well as online.

Just under 200 artworks from 30 Catholic schools across the Sandhurst Diocese will be on show as part of this year’s Exhibition.  Prizes are awarded for outstanding artworks in General Art and Spiritual Art categories across primary and secondary settings.

The MacKillop Art Exhibition is open in the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bendigo from 12 November 2021 to Sunday 28 November 2021, 9 am – 4.30 pm daily.  The Cathedral is a public space, so all government Covid-19 restrictions apply and we ask patrons to be respectful of the sacred nature of the space in which we are privileged to hold our Exhibition.

The People’s Choice Award is an opportunity for family, friends and public to get involved and yet another chance for students to be recognised and to win prizes. You can vote for the Primary and Secondary People’s Choice Award winners by clicking on the voting form in the People’s Choice gallery.  Voting closes at 11.59 pm on Sunday, 28th November 2021. Winners will be announced on Tuesday 30 November on the Catholic Education Sandhurst Limited Facebook page.

A Message from the Director

The Mackillop Art Exhibition is an event which brings me great joy each year.  It celebrates the creativity of our students and the effort and determination of their teachers who support our students to thrive.

I thank all those who have guided, inspired and motivated our students to create art this year.  Catholic Education Sandhurst believes that creativity is an integral element of a quality education and that it must be nurtured.

To the parents who have assisted their children to reach their creative potential at home, I thank you for fostering resilience and encouraging wellbeing through the Arts.

Congratulations to all the young people who have submitted artwork for the Exhibition. You are a part of a historic milestone for the MacKillop Art Exhibition as it is held, for the first time, both online and onsite in the Sacred Heart Cathedral this year. 

Enjoy the Exhibition.

Paul Desmond – Executive Director: Catholic Education Sandhurst Ltf

A Message from the Curator

It has been another challenging year for students, teachers and parents.  This year’s exhibition is a true testament to the power of creativity and of the Arts to endure, offering artists, makers and creators the chance to construct meaning of their world.  The Mackillop Art exhibition of 2021 is a real beacon of hope which comes towards the end of what has been a tumultuous year. 

I am thankful for the opportunities, offered by Art specialists and classroom teachers, that have encouraged and inspired the students of Sandhurst throughout the year.   Thank you for your effort in entering the exhibition this year. 

I thank school leadership and  CES Limited leadership for their commitment to excellence and to the nourishment of the Arts in Sandhurst. 

To the parents who have motivated and supported their children to drive their imagination in uncertain times, thank you.  I hope that sharing artistic experiences with your child awakened your own spirit of creativity.

I am confident that the Sandhurst community will continue to nurture imagination, resourcefulness and originality.  I hope that the exhibition of 2022 will see 100% of schools participate, after a more peaceful year.

With St Mary of The Cross MacKillop, I pray with gratitude for the chances we have had this year and that we look with faith, into the future.

Claire Spinelli – Education Officer: The Arts

A Message from the Adjudicators

How fabulous it was this year to judge the MacKillop Art Exhibition prizes in the Bendigo Cathedral.   Viewing art in such a magnificent space felt like a great privilege. 

To all the students whose work is in the exhibition I congratulate you and thank you for sharing your fabulous ideas, stories and creativity with me.

Been an artist takes bravery and that is a strength that can help you not just in creating successful art but in building a healthy and rich life. 

This year I was particularly attracted to many of the sculptures that students had produced as they expressed individuality, humour and a real visual presence.  Finally, a big congratulations to all the winners and a round of applause to all the teachers who helped support and nurture these young artists.

- Margot Feast (Bendigo Art Gallery Education Officer)

Art making and art thinking are entry points into personal and social worlds. Both practices enable questions to be asked and to be answered, and for perspectives to be examined and put forward. They also enable aesthetic explorations into colour, mark-making, form, texture and composition. It is through art making and art thinking that our imaginations become tangible.

The MacKillop Art Exhibition represents the insightful and humbling art making and art thinking endeavours of a group of young learners across the Sandhurst diocese. Their responses to the ‘Faith in Our Future’ theme and their personal experience of the world have been brought together under the beams of Sacred Heart Cathedral and online. This is not only a celebration of the artworks and artists, but also a testament to the strength shown by all over the last two years. To have been given the opportunity to make art must have been life-enhancing during times of lockdown and restrictions.

The variety of art forms and processes in this exhibition is wonderful, as is the span of age groups represented. I encourage viewers to consider both the artworks and the artist statements in conjunction as they open up those personal and social entry points offered by the artists. Some artworks challenge us to consider our impact on the world and our place in it, whilst others invite us to engage with the interplay of colour and shape. Whether addressing a societal question or exploring the elements and principles of art, this exhibition shows us that the Arts are crucial to our community fabric and longevity.

- Dr Adam Staples (La Trobe University)

The MacKillop Art Exhibition provides a profound insight into the lives of children and young people living in regional Victoria.  There are themes that are universal and enduring across time.  There are also themes that are more transient, and speak very directly to the immediate term.

This year I want to wholeheartedly congratulate every single young artist and every single art teacher who offered their work to the competition and to the gallery.  Participating, reaching out, connecting through art is a wonderful gift from all of those students and their teachers - who, like all of us, have been dealing with so much in recent times.  Finding the energy and inspiration to create and contribute is not something any of us should take for granted.

There are complex works that try to deal with what the 'new normal' might be, there are beautifully executed works that celebrate the simple pleasure of personal connection, and others that reflect the joys in playing with colour and shape.  For many of the works, I was imagining the laughter and fun being had as the young artists worked on their creations.  The sculptural works in particular filled me with joy this year.  As always, there are wonderful explorations of human connection to nature - a theme that feels all the more poignant in these times of multiple lockdowns.

Above all else, I suggest viewers of this gallery really take their time with every single work.  This is a unique time in history.  It is rare to be able to get an insight into so many young people's hearts and minds through their artwork.  It feels especially valuable and important to take the time to do this right now.

- Christian Leavesly (Creative Director: Arena Theatre)

People’s Choice Award

The People’s choice award was instituted in 2020 when the Mackillop Art Exhibition went online for the first time. This award offers Exhibition viewers the opportunity to vote for their favourite artwork from a selection of finalists. Finalists are shortlisted by a panel of people of varied age, occupation and background. Winners of the Primary and Secondary category are awarded a $50 voucher for art supplies from ArtHouse Direct to support their artistic journey. Voting is now closed.

Winners of the 2021 MacKillop Art Exhibition People's Choice Awards

Primary Winner - Grace Leslie (Gr4 St Francis PS Nathalia) for 'Locked Away'
Secondary Winner - Meiya Milligan-Brown (Yr 9 - FCJ College Benalla) for 'Contemplating'

Entering the MacKillop Art Exhibition

All Catholic primary and secondary schools in the diocese of Sandhurst are invited to submit artwork to the Exhibition.  If you would like more information about how you can be involved in 2022, please contact Claire Spinelli – Education Officer: The Arts, details below.


Claire Spinelli
Education Officer: The Arts
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M: 0407721088