On Monday 26 June, there was an opening of an Art Exhibition at The Arts Centre Cootamundra. The works were by Year 11 and 12 students from Cootamundra High School.

Mr Logan Hotson a year 12 student was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening.  Mr Peter Beath welcomed us on behalf of the Wiradjuri People.

Mr Christopher Payne, Principal of Cootamundra High School, then spoke.  Mr Payne’s opening words were a key to viewing the varied and intriguing works of art.

‘I am an English teacher.  In the telling of stories, reading of books, there is a progress from beginning to end.  When I view these wonderfully produced art works, I am challenged and invited to ‘read’ their stories differently.’

The pieces by the year 12 students were arranged around the walls of the exhibition space; the centre area was given over to the suspended works by the year 11 students.

Amanda-Lee Boatswain, the Visual Arts teacher, explained how students were influenced by their reading and discussion of other subjects and by thinking about what is happening in our world.   

Each piece was accompanied by a brief explanation written by the artist.

Not only did these notes help in understanding the works, they were also very revealing of the serious thinking and reflection of the students.

There was a striking study of ‘masculinity’ by Bella Legget, Ellenore Clapham’s the power of colour, ‘red’, to capture and express various thoughts and emotions, a beautiful life-line of portraits by Ruby Geddes, a visual treatment of a Japanese folk tale by Brydie Sargent, an arresting image of over-indulgence and consumerism, by Amelia Clack and the landscape artwork of Marine Franklin.

The year 11 students had been encouraged to think about space and sculpture.



The suspended works also provided a thought provoking experience.

Charlize Watson-Reid’s hanging clay fragments was an arresting opening to the exhibition.

There was a  volcano by Eli Leishman, jelly fish by lilly Large and ‘house web’ by Aliza  Schultz a reflection on domestic violence which invited that ‘second look’ that transforms the ordinary and familiar into the wonderful or disturbing.

For visitors to the exhibition, parents and interested public, this was a rich experience of the talent and thoughtfulness of local young people.

It was also an education of the power of art to tell stories.

As well as the telling of stories, the art works revealed something of the concerns, dedication and maturity of the young people in our community.

It was encouraging that Cr Charlie Sheehan, the Mayor, and Cr Leigh Bowden, Deputy Mayor, were among those present.

There will be an Exhibition of the art from junior high school students from Cootamundra High School, in The Arts Centre, from Friday 8th September – Friday 15th September.

Ms Boatswain explained how students from years 7 to 10 were working on a connection between maths and art.

This exhibition promises to be as interesting and innovative as the one by years 11 and 12.

Richard White