A record 14 Sydney Catholic Schools graduates have earned a place in HSC visual arts showcase ARTEXPRESS this year, with another eight nominated for the prestigious exhibition.

The selected artworks embrace mediums including ceramics, sculpture, photography, drawing, painting and mixed-media to provide an emotive and considered look at themes including childhood, cultural identity, literature and a rare neurological condition.

A section of Alyssa Cavallo's HSC Visual Arts major workClancy Catholic College West Hoxton graduate Krovanes Nico’s photomedia series O le a fuga mai (Come into bloom) acknowledges her growing connection to her Samoan heritage.

Aquinas Catholic College Menai graduate Alyssa Cavallaro’s work, Chiese e cattedrali, is an ode to old-world architecture.

“By using coloured pencil in a realistic style in my body of work, my intention is to represent the incredible detail of the old world, detail that our new world is quickly forgetting,” she said.

De La Salle College Cronulla graduate’s Sienna Salvato’s charcoal drawings of drama students modelling Shakespeare’s Desdemona and Othello presents “a whimsical take on the idea of Shakespearean tragedy”.

Marist College Kogarah graduate Cristian Varvakis used graphic design and mixed media to represent his emotions around the experience of the rare neurological phenomenon, visual snow. It includes seeing static, coloured dots and auras.

“My work is intended to demonstrate the beauty within the disorientation of my experience of visual snow while challenging perceptions of normalcy, vision and reality,” he said.

 “As an educator, it is incredibly gratifying to see so many students from our system selected for such a celebrated, high-calibre showcase.” – Helen Landas

Success on show

“Seeing our students’ work recognised in ARTEXPRESS not only validates their hard work and creative abilities but also inspires other students to pursue their artistic passions,” said Education Officer: Creative and Performing Arts, Helen Landas.

“It also demonstrates the value of arts education in nurturing creativity, critical thinking, and self-expression, which are essential skills for success.”

Nurturing artistic talent

Sydney Catholic Schools’ approach to arts education plays a significant role in nurturing the kind of achievement seen in ARTEXPRESS.

It includes an emphasis on creativity, quality teaching, a wide range of opportunities for skill development and cultivating a supportive community of parents, teachers and fellow students.

“Our emphasis on creativity fosters a culture where students feel empowered to take risks and push the boundaries of their artistic practice,” Ms Landas said.

“The dedication and expertise of our arts educators are also crucial in nurturing students’ artistic talents. Our teachers are passionate about their subjects and are committed to providing students with the guidance, support, and inspiration they need to excel in their artistic endeavours.

“By fostering a supportive and inclusive community, Sydney Catholic Schools create an environment where students feel motivated to excel and are supported in their artistic pursuits.”

A section of Krovanes Nico's HSC major work on display at ARTEXPRESS

The artworks

The diversity of artistic talent from this year’s HSC will be on display at the Art Gallery of NSW until 21 April, at Hazelhurst Arts Centre until 7 April, and at select regional galleries through to September.

Sydney Catholic Schools students featured in ARTEXPRESS include:

  • Sienna Salvato, De La Salle Catholic College Cronulla, Please Miss, Not Everyone Enjoys Shakespeare as Much You      
  • Krovanes Niko, Clancy Catholic College West Hoxton, O le a fuga mai (come into bloom)     
  • Mana Sugimoto, Marist Sisters’ College Woolwich, My Porcelain Dolls     
  • Cristian Varvakis, Marist College Kogarah, Whispers of Light and Noise       
  •  Alyssa Cavallaro, Aquinas Catholic College Menai, Chiese e Cattedrali
  • Angelina O’ Connor, De La Salle Catholic College Cronulla, The Fossil Fuel Follies
  • Kaitlynn Kelly, Mount St Joseph Milperra, My Grimm Tales
  • Gabrielle Ip, Marist Sisters’ College Woolwich, Star Stories
  • Joshua Corr, St Patrick’s College Sutherland, Social Media – And Influencer and Enabler     
  • Hussein Abdulla, Casimir Catholic College Marrickville, Ticced Off   
  •  Aden O’Hara, St Mary’s Cathedral College Sydney, Our Tethered Callus
  • Sarah McCullough, St John Bosco College Engadine, Fragility of Life
  • Caroline Soliman, St Vincent’s College Ashfield, Endless
  •  Zizi Allmey, St Clare’s College Waverley, Fight or Flight: Homage to Ukraine