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Clancy Prize celebrates art and faith

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Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Kensington College students at the Clancy Prize. Photo Supplied
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Kensington Year 10 students with their winning artwork in the Clancy Prize. Photo: Sydney Catholic Schools.

Students in Catholic secondary schools across Sydney have celebrated their artistic talents and their dedication to the faith at the same time through participating in the annual Clancy Prize for Religious Art.

The prize was launched by the former Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Edward Clancy in 1999 who recognised the importance of religious art as a powerful force in the service of humanity, especially at a time when our society seems to be losing its civilizing values.

This year’s prize had the theme: Scripture: The bridge between heaven and earth with students invited to unpack inspiring biblical verses that celebrate the goodness of God and celebrate the teachings that underpin our lives as followers of Jesus Christ.

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The 18 individual and collaborative works winners spanned across painting, drawing and digital prints and had their talents showcased in an exhibition at the McGlade Gallery at the Australian Catholic University’s Strathfield campus.

The coverted Executive Director’s Award was given this year to Holy Cross College Ryde Year 11 students, Jayden Gronau and Alistair Logan for a work titled “Bridge of Life”.

Nelson Fasavalu from Patrician Brothers Fairfield. Photo: Supplied
Nelson Fasavalu from Patrician Brothers Fairfield with his winning entry in the Brian Jordan Prize, “a bridge between heaven and earth”. Photo: Sydney Catholic Schools.

“It’s a beautiful and stunning representation of the bridge between heaven and earth that invites us to explore our relationship with each other and our relationship with God”, Sydney Catholic Schools’ Executive Director Tony Farley explained.

The artists said they wanted to emphasise in the work that people have different ideas of what heaven looks like, through various depictions of bridges between heaven and earth.

A stand-out work at this year’s exhibition was Year 9 Patrician Brothers Fairfield student, Nelson Fasavulu who won a Brian Jordan Prize for his his work “A bridge between heaven and earth” expressing the resurrection of Jesus and including three women at the tomb: Mary, Mary Magdalene and Mary of Cleophas.

A team of Year 10 students from Our Lady of Sacred Heart College Kensington won an ACU School of Education Award for their Mix Media work, “The Bridge”.

This took up a contemporary theme, capturing the chaos of life on the earth at the moment: the pandemic, inflation, environmental pollution and the artwork then moves across the bridge towards the salvation of heavenly redemption.

De La Salle Caringbah students at the Clancy Prize. Photo Supplied
De La Salle Caringbah students with thieir winning entry, “Twelve Baskets”  at the Clancy Prize. Photo: Sydney Catholic Schools

Another stand-out collaborative work from Year 10 students at De La Salle College Caringbah also won a Brian Jordan Prize for the Twelve Baskets Sculpture which draws inspiration from “The Feeding of the Five Thousand” in John’s Gospel when the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over, one of Jesus’ miracles, after the feeding of the 5000.

Sydney Catholic Schools Executive Director, Tony Farley, said there was a conscious decision this year to make the focus on scripture and linking it to art.

“Through the scriptures, we are connected to the Word of God and all that is divine”, he explained.

“In many ways the scriptures are maps that direct and guide us and keep us on the true path to God. I hope every student who participated is incredibly proud of the work they’ve done and the way in which their art helps us to realise and celebrate our faith”.

A full list of the winners in the 2022 Clancy Prize for Religious Art can be found here.

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