I am most delighted to present to you the PRIMED 2021 Exhibition Catalogue. The catalogue includes the works of 50 students involved in IB Visual Arts, VCE Media, VCE Studio Arts and/or VCE Visual Communication Design.

The title of the show is not accidental.

PRIMED, according to the Oxford dictionary, means “prepared for a situation so that an individual knows what to do, especially after being given special information”. The exhibition showcases projects of students who, over the past two years, have been involved with the Visual Arts. They have received their “special information” to take them to the next level. Whether they will choose to pursue Art and Design education further or not is at this stage uncertain. The feedback from the students who have done the subjects in the past would suggest that they will, however, definitively bring along new perspectives and energy for creativity to any academic field.

In a tumultuous world, the role of Art and Design has become even more central to our students’ lives, whether they have realised it or not. As a number of their works show, many “prepared for a situation” moved deeper into their inner thoughts and imagination, the vast space of inspiration that ordinarily is perhaps neglected. Staying creative – painting, sculpting, designing, photographing and video making – offered them a chance to move around freely in a fictional world in a way that was impossible in reality. Examination of the students’ statements reveals that Art matters. In times of global crisis, Art and Design helps to understand the world around us. It allows us to process, voice and express our experiences, and to bring people and ideas together. It shows that art making is a tool for stress reduction and wellbeing as it helps to process trauma, express difficult feelings, and work through experiences.

Lastly, Art allows us to communicate from afar, to generate positivity, appreciation and hope during uncertain times. This is perhaps best represented in a statement by Visual Arts student Annie Mitchell (Yr12 Ga), who in her Curatorial Rationale wrote: “I hope that by viewing my exhibition the audience will feel optimistic in our current isolated state”, that her work will bring “joy and calmness; the emotions and escape I felt while creating my pieces.”

The Visual Arts Department, as well as the School, would like to acknowledge the effort, determination, perseverance and, ultimately, the wholesome development that so many of our students have demonstrated through the last two Covid-ridden years, when they have had to develop their creative solutions to art and design problems, largely in isolation.

The students are PRIMED. On behalf of the School, I wish them well in their future endeavours.

Dr Peter Bajer
Head of Visual Arts