Twenty-four Visual Art students in Year 11 at Matthew Flinders Anglican College enjoyed a unique in-classroom workshop with leading Australian artist Abdul Abdullah when he visited the College recently.
Abdul is an artist from Perth, who is currently based in Sydney. He works across painting, photography, video, installation and performance, and was a finalist in this year’s Sir John Sulman Prize, currently showing at the esteemed Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Abdul generously shared his experiences as a contemporary artist and demonstrated his process with the Flinders Year 11 art students, explaining how he looks at portraiture, light and shade, painting techniques and colour mixing.
Students were then encouraged to draw and paint a portrait of their own while Abdul observed and spent time moving around the classroom to speak with each student one-on-one about their work and process.
Head of Art at Flinders, Ros Braithwaite said the students were thrilled to have the opportunity to be directly mentored by a leading artist.
“In Flinders’ Visual Art program, we focus on 21st century learning and teach creativity by encouraging and challenging our students to express themselves, to be visually literate, think, problem solve, learn from their mistakes, and develop skills to help them secure a job in the future,” Ros said.
“It’s a wonderful addition to our art program for our students to meet a leading artist like Abdul and hear first-hand how he has developed the confidence, determination and skills to build a career in a highly competitive art world,” she said.
“The students enjoyed the challenge Abdul gave them to work quickly and produce a painting in a short space of time, and they appreciated interacting with him and gaining constructive feedback.
“Abdul’s work ties in well with the current unit we are working on, called ‘Art as Code’, where students look at how artists express complex ideas through their own personal codes and how these can communicate meaning which can transcend culture and time.
“Abdul's work contains a multitude of cultural symbols and codes, commenting on his experiences as a young Muslim Australian and the challenges he, his family and friends face because of this.”
Abdul’s projects have engaged with different marginalised minority groups and he is particularly interested in the experience of young Muslims in the contemporary multicultural Australian context, as well as connecting with creative communities throughout the Asia Pacific.
This year, the Flinders art program has also been exploring combining traditional and new media, and students have had the opportunity to engage with new digital and Virtual Reality technologies.
Students are experimenting with augmented reality animation, and digital painting, and drawing both in 2D and 3D immersive environments.
Some of this new work will be showcased at the annual Flinders Art Expo, which will be held on campus in Term 4.
The show is open to the public and exhibits selected artworks from students at the Flinders Early Learning Centre right up to students in Year 12.
Flinders’ Visual Art students are guided by experienced and passionate art staff with three specialist art teachers in the Secondary School and one specialist art teacher in the Primary School.
CAPTION: Flinders Year 11 Visual Art students share their self portraits produced during a spontaneous in-class challenge with Australia artist Abdul Abdullah to create an artwork from start to finish within a lesson.