War ‘difficult to justify’
Art takes Luke on voyage of discovery
Luke Munir Nasir, St Pius X College, Chatswood Our Story: The Palestinians, paintings
By Marilyn Rodrigues
Luke Munir Nasir, of Ryde, has never been to the Middle East, birthplace of his Palestinian father, but he hopes to visit one day.
He's had little involvement with his Palestinian heritage, and when it came time to do his HSC major art work he used the opportunity to discover a bit about his background.
"It was not a political issue for me, but it came out that way, because I decided to do it after September 11 and (in the light of) the continuing war in the Middle East," says Luke, who was an HSC student last year at St Pius X College, Chatswood.
The result, Our Story: The Palestinians, is a series of paintings that "represent a race that's in trouble, but in a subtle way".
It is one of 56 best artworks by 2002 HSC visual arts students chosen for the ArtExpress exhibition held at the Art Gallery of NSW from February until April 6.
In the first of Luke's three large paintings, an old man sits and tells the story of the Palestinian people to its next generations.
Printed over the scene are quotes from speeches at the 1991 Madrid peace conference; a sign of hope when Israel entered into negotiations with Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinian people.
The second painting (pictured top right) shows men smoking the traditional nargila pipe, or water pipe, and the third depicts a struggle in a crowded street from which a woman, crying, is trying to run away.
"My work represents an artistic and personal view of the Palestinian culture, the people and the impact of politics on recent generations," says Luke.
"Art can offer a different view of human activity to global media reports.
"Story telling, poetry and art define a culture, a culture I am proud to be part of."
Luke says he feels honoured to have his work hung at the Art Gallery of NSW.
He hopes to study fine arts at the University of Wollongong.
This year marks a decade of ArtExpress exhibitions.
The works of 182 students from 119 government schools and 63 non-government schools are being exhibited in five different ArtExpress shows this year.
"The exhibitions demonstrate the tremendous depth of talent of young artists in our schools," said NSW Minister for Education and Training, John Watkins.
"The works in this exhibition are in a variety of mediums and have been selected for their skill, power and imagination.
"Students have to be focused on issues of social, cultural and spiritual significance, through to aspects of personal identity and the home environment.
"The students, and their parents and teachers who have supported them so well through the creative process, deserve our highest praise."
Other artists from NSW Catholic schools to have their works featured at the art gallery are: Alexandra Clapham, Monte Sant' Angelo Mercy College, North Sydney; Helen Goodwin, St Patrick's Marist College, Dundas; Elizabeth Jeffers and Amy Stibbard, Loreto College, Normanhurst; Matthew Plummer, St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill; and Christopher Nano, O'Connor College, Armidale.