The artwork of 60 students from schools all over NSW will be showcased at this year’s University of New England School Art Prize (UNESAP) Let’s Hang It! Exhibition, with winners announced at the opening night on July 28.
Budding young artists from the New England and the North West and around the state submitted their colourful and creative artworks to NERAM to be judged for the annual UNESAP awards.
This year’s competition saw a record number of schools (50) enter the competition and more than 500 artworks sent in for judging from students from kindy to year 12.
The 60 finalists for the 2023 UNESAP awards were recently selected and among them were three students from PLC, Armidale – Freda Schaeffer year 3, Navita Maher, year 9 and Kalani Maduwage year 7.
Freda, a previous winner at the 2022 UNESAP awards, used her great dane Onslow as inspiration for her colourful artwork.
“I worked on this artwork during Covid-19 when we were at home and there wasn’t a lot to do,” she said.
“Onslow was great inspiration for me as he is always in your face.”
Freda, who is no stranger to the art spotlight having been a finalist in the 2022 Young Archies award, said she loved everything about the UNESAP awards.
“They are so much fun, especially the night they announce the winners,” she said.
Navita, who is entering the awards for a second year, said she enjoyed coming to the UNESAP Let’s Hang It! opening night and seeing all the artworks from other students.
“It gives me lots of ideas and inspiration for future artworks,” she said.
“We were doing a unit on Cézanne at school, and I drew inspiration from that for my artwork I did. But I wanted to add a little bit more of an abstract edge to my pommes vertes painting.”
Kalani, who has entered UNSEAP for the first time in 2023, said her artwork of an ostrich done in ink was inspired by Australian artist Brett Whiteley.
“I was a bit surprised my artwork was selected as a finalist in the awards, but I am also very excited about it going on display at NERAM,” she said.
“I am really looking forward to seeing the other artworks that will be in the exhibition.”
UNESAP celebrated its 20th year in 2023 and was established by the UNE as a school-based art project to raise the profile, status and interest in the visual arts in New South Wales’ regional and rural schools.
“UNESAP Let’s Hang It! is definitely a highlight on NERAM’s calendar, one which all staff look forward to,” said NERAM curator Belinda Hungerford.
“Each year we are amazed by the creativity, imagination, and skill of the participating school students and the dedication of their teachers.
“The opening night and prize-giving ceremony is full of excitement and anticipation with the young artists attending with their families and schoolteachers. The air is abuzz.”
Winners will be announced on July 28.