Wednesday 07 March 2018

Art With Heart

Last night was the opening night of Art With Heart; a cross-campus exhibition exploring Gender Equality through collaboration and courage.

More than 50 artworks created by more than 40 artists were produced for the project. Students and teachers of all ages and genders joined the conversation around Gender Equality, and their contributions are on display in the Global Citizenship Centre, Round Square Gallery until the end of the week. A number of teachers and staff worked tirelessly to bring this exhibition to life including JUMP! Foundation and Global Citizenship Centre Coordinators Aditi Agrawal and Ali Meighan as well as staff members from the art department and other areas.

Two student speakers, Ella Primerano (Year 12) and Denzel Vaghani (Year 6), spoke to a crowd of students, teachers, and families about their artworks and the importance of discussing gender equality in schools. Seeing artwork by people of all ages alongside each other in a way that breaks down perceived barriers of age and gender was an empowering sight.

Ella expressed as much in her speech. “As a firm believer in this global goal, I was determined to create an artwork which was somehow abstract in its representation of gender equality… This exhibition tonight is a space of no judgement and celebrates our united front towards equality for all.”

When asked about the format of an art exhibition, Ms Agrawal said that art has a unique way of bringing people together to discuss challenging topics. “Using art as a forum to talk about anything and everything to do with gender is something that is happening all across Australia. This is a chance to talk about how these stereotypes have formed but also how to live outside them.”

The theme was expressed beautifully through all the pieces of art and the adjoining plaques helped to draw you in to appreciate them even more, here a few examples.

Stella Year 6 – ‘My artwork symbolizes that no matter how our opinions change, boys and girls are equal and will always need each other. – Malala who fought for girls to have Education’

Daniel Year 5 – ‘This picture represents African girls not being allowed to go to school to get an education; instead, they had to work hard labour. The blue images represent the boys seated in class at school. There is a spare seat behind the girl, which should be for her to be at school like the boys.’

Catherine Year 7 – ‘We are all different in our own special way, showing our authentic qualities. When we come together, we truly are a… masterpiece.’

Gender Equality is the focus for the Global Citizenship Centre for Term 1. Through a range of activities and conversations, we are discussing all the ways that gendered stereotypes harm girls and boys, women and men, and can undermine an individual’s decision to be the best version of themselves. Many unchallenged assumptions about what it means to be a man or a woman can appear on the surface to be harmless, but left unchecked can lead to discrimination, injustice and violence. Standing together and having the courage to challenge stereotypes is how we can use the Ivanhoe Learner characteristics of collaboration and courage to create meaningful change in the world for everyone.