After a great deal of planning and a lengthy countdown the day finally arrived when twenty-four students and three teachers left for the Sydney Art Trip to Sydney…. and what a great time we had!
Our trip began early on Tuesday morning with a 4.30am airport check in, when the students excitedly assembled; several of the girls having maxed out their luggage allowance with bulging suitcases of winter clothes whilst some of the boys appeared to be travelling with no more than a change of T-shirt! Alas all of those carefully coordinated winter outfits were not necessary as we were to enjoy four days of glorious warm Sydney sunshine!
Upon our arrival in Sydney we set out to take in the sights with a walk across the Harbour Bridge followed by a stroll to the Opera House and lots of photo opportunities. Students had been forewarned that the trip would involve a great deal of walking but I don’t think anyone had prepared themselves for the amount of steps we were to climb over the four days as we made our way to and from our accommodation, at the Sydney Harbour YHA located in the beautiful historical are of The Rocks. Our accommodation may not have had luxurious frills of a top class hotel, but it certainly more than made up for that, with its million-dollar panoramic view reaching from the Harbour Bridge to the Opera House and beyond - the rooftop terrace was to become a favourite chill out area for all in the group!
With two iconic tourist attractions under our belt by lunchtime it was time to get down to the true purpose of our visit – the Art stuff - which began with a visit to the Gallery of Contemporary Modern Art. This visit exposed the students to the wonders of conceptual art through the surreal and beguiling works of the likes of Patricia Piccinini and the grotesque work of Stelarc (think 4.6kgs of body fat housed in a custom made industrial blender!). Nonetheless our wonderful gallery educators helped in our understanding and endeavoured to make sense of it all for us!
Day two focussed on our initial inspiration for the trip: The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize Exhibition floor talk and viewing, followed by the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera Exhibition – great favourites studied by our year 10 students and a wonderful experience for all.
The following day we set off on a lengthy trek to the Brett Whitely Studio at Surry Hills. This was to be an unexpected totally mind-blowing experience for many and the absolute highlight of the trip. Seeing Whiteley’s works up close, as well as to stand in his personal living space and painting studio, had an impact on the students so great that it may stay with some forever – it was a very thrilling experience!
To top the day, we had a wonderfully fun night of entertainment with a guided ghost tour of The Rocks when some of the more gruesome and undesirable historical facts of the area were related, albeit with an added sense of drama. It was at this point, when I assisted the guide in creating the appropriate atmosphere with a blood curdling scream, that my true talents were revealed.... Hollywood look out …. your new scream queen is on her way!
With weariness really setting in by day four but still more to see, we set off early to the nearby S.H. Ervin Gallery where we were given a guided tour of the Salon des Refusés. This exhibition showcases some of the works which had just missed out on being selected as finalist for the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize. As well as these outstanding works, the gallery was also exhibiting the highly commended works from the Young Archie, a portrait competition open to 5-18 year olds. This was a particularly special exhibition for us as it featured the work of one of our Year 11 students, Sissura Symonds-Manne. Sissura’s entry was a highly detailed, tonal graphite drawing of her mother. It was wonderful for us all to share in the thrill of seeing her work on public display. Congratulations and well done Sissura on that great achievement!
Our time in Sydney was, by then, rapidly coming to an end and with just a few hours before we had to depart for the airport, we had just enough time to squeeze in a stroll through the wonderful sculptures displayed at the new Barangaroo Reserve, before heading to Circular Quay. From there we caught a ferry to Manly where we enjoyed a stroll in the sunshine and a delicious gelato to conclude a wonderful trip!
On behalf of Clair Georgiev, Elizabeth Forster and myself, I would like to thank the staff of Wynnum High for their support in allowing the trip to go ahead. No amount of teaching, text or images could replace what these students experienced over the four days, and it couldn’t have happen without their team effort and support. Above all, I would like to thank the students whose company and behaviour was wonderful; they truly represented both the school and their families in a manner that can only be described as PROUD. Thank you!
Lorraine Buchan Senior Visual Art teacher (and future Hollywood Scream Queen)