School takes out art hat-trick

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De La Salle student and Clancy Prize winner Laurah Tapas with her artwork titled The Family. PHOTOS: Natalie Roberts / Sydney Catholic Schools

A portrait of a migrant family has taken out the 2020 Clancy Prize for religious art and lead a hat-trick for her school, which also produced the top art teacher and the runner-up.

Laurah Tapas, a Year 12 student from De La Salle Cronulla, won the $2000 prestigious prize run by the Australian Catholic University and the Sydney Archdiocese.

Laurah, whose family migrated from Papua New Guinea in 2003, said the work entitled The Family, celebrated the simple pleasures of family life and the importance of family support in migrant communities.

“Like many migrant communities in Australia, the family plays an important role as a support group,” she said.

The winning artwork by Laurah Tapas which celebrates the simple pleasures of family life. PHOTOS: Natalie Roberts / Sydney Catholic Schools

“This is especially true of our Papua New Guinea community which is small in numbers.

“In the village, the Church is the centre of our community life and the glue that binds us – a real contrast to life in secular Australia.”

De La Salle Cronulla art teacher Byron Hurst won the $2,000 prize for best art teacher. The runner-up prize of $1,000 went to De La Salle Year 12 student Jessica Gledhill, for Dora Maar, a pensive portrait set among fantastical creatures.

The Monsignor Tony Doherty Award of $500 was won by Matthew Vassilieff of Marist Eastwood for his portrait of a boy playing a video game entitled Dementia, determined, distracted.

The annual Clancy Prize Exhibition is a celebration of students’ creativity and spirituality, expressed through visual arts and inspired by Cardinal Edward Clancy. It is open to all Sydney Catholic Schools secondary students.

Year 12 student Jessica Gledhill’s runner-up artwork of Francois Gilot. PHOTOS: Natalie Roberts / Sydney Catholic Schools

Each year the prize sets a theme to inspire students. This year’s theme was Family love: A vocation and a path to holiness, the theme Pope Francis has set for the 2021 World Meeting of Families.

De La Salle art teacher and award recipient Byron Hurst said he was delighted to see two of his students pick up major prizes in SCS’s Clancy Prize.

“Both Laurah and Jessica took different approaches to the theme of family,” he said.

“Laurah celebrated family love, whilst Jessica celebrated the strength of women in dysfunctional family relationships and both girls took many hours to complete their works.

“Jessica participated in the prize in 2019 without winning, but was determined to persist and developed a Me Too themed response. She is now working on a De La Salle Mission in North Queensland for a gap year.

“Laurah, who has only just begun Year 12, showed great aptitude for portrait work in Year 11 and wanted to try portrait painting as a medium.”

De La Salle Cronulla art teacher and award recipient Byron Hurst. PHOTOS: Natalie Roberts / Sydney Catholic Schools

The Clancy Prize exhibition is on display at the McGlade Gallery on the Strathfield Campus of Australian Catholic University until 27 March.

Full list of winners:

  1. The Clancy Prize for students ($2000) Laurah Tapas, Year 12, De La Salle, Cronulla
  2. The Clancy Prize for art teachers ($2000) Byron Hurst, De La Salle, Cronulla
  3. Brian Jordan Award ($1000) Jessica Gledhill, Year 12 De La Salle, Cronulla
  4. Msg Tony Doherty Award ($500) Matthew Vassilieff, Year 12, Marist Eastwood
  5. The Packers Prize ($250) Calista Camarda, Year 12, Bethlehem College, Ashfield
  6. ACU School of Education Awards (3 x $100)
  7. Monique Frasca, Year 11, Clancy Catholic College, West Hoxton
  8. Ashley Bokser, Year 12, Domremy College, Five Dock
  9. Milana Tomic, Year 12, Freeman Catholic College, Bonnyrigg Heights.