Showcase young talents

Four of Creative Showcase 2024 artists. Picture: JESSE GRAHAM

By Dongyun Kwon

An exhibition, where visitors can see young local artists’ artworks, is on its way to open in April.

Creative Showcase, an annual art exhibition for young talented student artists, is hosted by Yarra Ranges Council in a partnership with Burrinja Cultural Centre.

32 artists all around the Yarra Ranges Council’s district will showcase their art pieces in Creative Showcase 2024.

It was eligible for students who completed units 3 and 4 in VCE Art and Studio Art or in the final year of VCAL in 2023.

Burrinja Cultural Centre cultural development producer Toni Main said Creative Showcase is to celebrate the incredible and unique talents.

“Yarra Ranges Council [district] is full of artists in a professional capacity,” she said.

“It’s amazing to see these young artists coming out of school and continuing on to develop the region as an artistic and cultural district.

“It’s really great that they’re choosing to make a career out of art and we were there when they first started.”

Madison Wandmaker, who graduated from Edinburgh College, said she decided to apply for it when a lady came to her school and explained about the Creative Showcase.

“My grandparents live around here [the Memo] and I thought I would like for them to see my artwork,” Madison said.

Madison’s artwork Butcherbird is based on the theme around tragedy with heavy symbolism.

“My artwork is oil on canvas, and it’s got heavy symbolism with a butcherbird and small blue wrens to pray in a serene environment.”

“It was a long process. It was a lot of talking to people about how the composition was, and also I had to try to make sure the symbolism made sense with the scenery and everything in it.

“So it was a lot of trial and error and I was trying to get it to look nice and also symbolic.”

Former Lilydale High School student Ken Roberts will display two dresses that they sewed.

Ken said they had waited for an opportunity to exhibit their artworks.

“When I was in VCE, we came in here [The Memo] seeing some different artworks and seeing different emotions and opinions, I was like ‘I want mine to be projected, I want people to experience mine.’,” they said.

“Both of my artworks are about identity, and the black one [My identity is stigma] is more of a reflection about my identity, how people’s perception can restrict and harm me and how I view myself.

“The white one [Your identity is…] is more of a focus on how broad and different everybody experiences identity and how identity runs through our blood and determines our whole entire lives.”

Ken has always loved art in their whole entire life.

“Musical artists share who they are, what they want to do and their opinions through their music,” they said.

“I want to project and share my views, opinions and everything I’m feeling, and art is just the way I found to do it.”

Elliot Mctinerney, who graduated from Monbulk College, also desires to show his works to the public because his artworks are based on intimate and personal themes.

Elliot grew up in the family of artists and he naturally got into art as art runs in his blood.

“My mum is a photographer and both my grandmas are painters, one is a realistic painter and the other is a very surrealistic and impressionistic painter,” he said.

“I’ve always been inspired by my mum’s photography and how she would display herself so authentically.”

Elliot will exhibit four of his art pieces.

Coming out and Mirror are two of main pieces he wants to introduce to the future visitors.

“My biggest one is called Coming out and it’s about my experience coming out as transgender, and it deals with the theme of hiding and showing yourself through the butterflies in the foreground of the image,” he said.

“I think of coming out as a game of hide and seek, like showing parts of yourself that are deemed acceptable but hiding parts of yourself that aren’t palatable to a larger audience.

“I was also really inspired by graphic and poster designers for a lot of my works, so making them look like movie posters was my big goal.”

Elliot’s other artwork Mirror portrays himself in a shattered mirror.

“It’s about how my idea of myself has been shattered and it no longer matches what I see in the mirror, linking to themes of gender dysphoria that I experience daily,” he said.

Former Mount Lilydale Mercy College student Liv Mackowiak used acrylic paint and mixed media for her artwork A Simulated Universe.

“It took a couple of months on and off to finish my artwork,” she said.

“The idea itself took a while to come up with and then it was a lot of trial and error on top of that.

“It was good to get thoughts in my head out of paper through my artwork. I think it’s more fun for me to express my thoughts through art than words.”

The Creative Showcase has been running for a long time launched separately by two different groups at first.

“It was started as two different things, so Yarra Ranges Council started their version and Burrinja also started their version, and then we combined and created a group effort.”

“It is more than a school show, so come and see the exhibition because it got through the application process.”

“The students had to apply to get in and the work is incredibly exquisite, and the young people have such a strong voice and they really delve into some beautifully poignant and personal stories in their artwork.”

The Creative Showcase will be open from Saturday 13 April to Sunday 5 May in The Memo, Healesville.