The Junior School Art Exhibition this term represented a journey of increasing refinement of skill, ideas and complexity starting from Pre-Primary and culminating in Year 6.

From the large coloured shapes inspired by Fi Wilkie in Pre Primary, to the Henri Rousseau inspired Year 1 artworks; continuing with the more complex interpretations and renditions of Hokusai’s Great Wave created in Year 2. With increasing complexity, the Year 4’s incorporated a myriad of recycled objects looking at shape, colour and scale in their award-winning and dazzling 3D sculptures. On to the again more complex painterly quality of the Jasper John inspired paintings by the Year 5’s. The Year 6 project required the students to essentially work as an artist. Each was given a kit of the same objects, they had to manipulate and arrange the objects into unique forms, an open-ended task where there was no wrong solution, just varying degrees of sophistication, looking at the local artist Howard Taylor.

Art is essential but sometimes impossible! It can be simultaneously easy and just so difficult! I sometimes reflect on why art is so beguiling and yet so hard, why for some, the initial impulse is to say ‘I can’t do this’.

If I use a metaphor, to make art, our students, your sons, set off from the comfort of the shore into the river. There is often an innate absolute compulsion to embark on a journey, to start an artwork, concurrently associated with an unresolved quest, to create; to resolve; to bring to balance; to bring to clarity, to understand, to illuminate, to explore, to experience. We may start with a particular direction in mind but there in the middle of the creative river, much certainty evaporates; this is an essential attribute of creativity. Uncertainty allows for infinite possibilities, the opportunity of choosing from multiple directions becomes possible and so exciting. Each moment of attention provides the opportunity then and there to deepen an understanding and use of ideas, media and insight.

Contrastingly, a craft person, for example, a potter, makes incremental improvements to a pre-existing functional form, a cup for example. The destination is clear, the journey conforms to an existing framework and the potter clearly sees when they have arrived at the destination. The opportunities for creativity exist but are bound by many parameters including functionality.

The art program must endeavour to provide safe conditions so as not to flounder in the river, ‘I can’t do this’, and skilful guidance for the traveller to arrive at a destination unique to them, authentic and meaningful.

Ms Wilcox and I have the privilege of sharing your son’s journey.

Mr Wain & Ms Wilcox