Winning Competition Entry created by students
Tigerlily, Eva and Eden

IN THE NEWS – Varsity students shine in Indigenous art competition

Gold Coast based business Everything Fleet has teamed up with Varsity College to create a unique art competition for Indigenous students

OVER 30 Indigenous students from Varsity College Secondary School have taken part in an art competition where they were mentored by Kamilaroi Artist, Imogen Clarence (Maruma-Li Art) during the devleopment of their artworks.

Organised by Premier Fleet and Vehicle Solutions company Everything Fleet, the winning artwork has now been turned into a vinyl vehicle wrap that will be seen all over the Gold Coast.

Everything Fleet’s Director Keith Alexander says the company initiated the competition as part of its Reconciliation Action Plan. “We believe as an independently owned and operated Australia company, we have a greater responsibility to acknowledge and respect everyone’s story, and it is therefore important for us to contribute to the reconciliation movement in an authentic, considerate and thoughtful way,” Mr Alexander said.

“The development of our Reconciliation Action Plan aligns with our overarching commitment to building our business around integrity, honesty and respect. We believe the RAP framework provides us with a construct to come together, to share and acknowledge our history and celebrate our differences so we can move forward together, toward a more equitable and reconciled Australia. We are so thrilled to be involved in the project with Varsity College. The work from the students has absolutely blown us away, as has the way the teaching team at Varsity College embraced the initiative and worked with the students to achieve their goals. It has been a wonderful project for us, and we are really happy to know the students have found it meaningful and worthwhile.”

The competition was run through Varsity College’s Drama, Music and Visual Arts Department as part of the ASPIRE Cultural Program which began in 2016. Cameron Sarasola, Head of Creative and Performing Arts, was instrumental in implementing the competition along with the Guidance Council Team who oversees the Varsity First Nations and Torre Strait Community Programs. “The Varsity College Arts Department is committed to providing students with a voice. We seek to encourage and empower all students to engage with and achieve excellence through our values of wisdom, integrity, courage, compassion and citizenship. This extends to acknowledging and engagement with the oldest continuing culture and its custodians. By providing our students, staff and community this opportunity we hope to support our First Nations students to embrace the wisdom shared through its elders, past, present and emerging.   This competition with Everything Fleet has been a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the student’s expressions as First Nation’s peoples. We believe that all forms of art or artistic based endeavours are critical to the holistic development of students.  The Elite Fleet Art Masterclass is an example of how we as a community can celebrate our First Nation students and create connections to our broader community.”

Mr Sarasola explains the process of the project: “The student’s artwork was created in a guided masterclass lead by proud Kamilaroi artist and creator of Maruma-Li Art, Imogen Clarence. During the guided Masterclass, supported by Varsity Arts Teacher Selina Tomasoni and Guidance Officer Anthea Daniels, the students worked to develop their artworks drawing on the shared cultural practices gifted from Ms. Clarence. Each of the entries capturing our students’ connection to culture and realising in vivid detail their own interpretations of the design brief. The winning entry is an example of this melding of personal and cultural influences, the work, created by students Tigerlily, Eva  and Eden features striking use of techniques gifted to our students through Imogen’s guidance and also reflects the personal aesthetic of its artist.”