This year’s smart ARTS exhibition, as part of Pine Street’s smart ARTS youth festival, brought together around 80 young artists from across Sydney.
Artists between the ages of 15 and 26 were gathered together not only by a desire for self-expression, but by a keen interest in art as political and social commentary, seeing art as a means of affecting change.
A group of about 30 artists formed the smart ART-collab to create a few large-scale collaborative works scoping issues as diverse as the demise of bee populations and gentrification. They met weekly in the festival’s ART-collab workshops and presented works covering a range of mediums – sculpture, installation, painting, drawing, photography and digital art.
The exhibition also featured the ‘60 Degrees of Separation’ installation, involving individual works on interlocking triangular panels from young artists all across Sydney. The idea was that we are all interconnected, what we all do affects others and that balance is the key to a happy and healthy life.
Here’s what Barbara Dias, a 24 year old artist from Guildford said about being involved:
What is the focus of your work?
I have been making art since I was a child, but began developing my artistic style since studying at Sydney College of the Arts (2009-2012). I focus on popular culture, incorporating signs and symbols.
How did you become involved in smart ARTS? What do you like about it?
I found out about smart ARTS from another artist and exhibited in 2013 and was invited to participate again this year. It was a great opportunity to express my ideas in a gallery setting.
How does your work speak to this year’s theme ‘Your voice, your impact’?
Using the triangular configuration of the boards, I have created a series of works comprising ‘hazards’ or ‘signs’ of the modern world. This work parallels the morality of life and the way we exist in the world. The triangular forms tell a story of life, death and beauty which is juxtaposed through aesthetic gestures and symbols.
This year’s festival also offered free installation, stencil, ceramics and printmaking workshops, a networking event with a diverse panel of professional artists, gallerists, curators and other professionals and two ‘Parlour Game’ events at the MCA – where young people who love to draw were invited to doodle together in a game invented by French surrealists (called Exquisite Corpse) and a drawing version of Chinese Whispers.