The captivating student-led exhibition celebrating the next generation of artists

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A captivating new exhibition showcasing the works of Canberra visual arts students is celebrating the creativity and talent of the next generation of artists.

Inviting people to immerse themselves into the world of their creativity, the CIT Student Exhibition is showing at The Link from Tuesday 9 July until Sunday 18 August, bringing together a range of works from 35 students aged 17 to 80.

All studying visual arts at the Canberra Institute of Technology at varying levels (from a Certificate IV to Diploma) the exhibition showcases the students’ accomplishments. From printmaking to drawing and mixed media, it’s a glimpse into the future of art in Australia – and according to Visual Art Teacher and Visual Art Program Coordinator Paul Murray, they’re pushing the boundaries.

“One of the challenges – particularly in the Diploma – is they have to experiment, investigate, and look beyond traditional art approaches,” he says.

“Some of the students are pushing ideas, notions, and ambiguities. Some of them have been political, and some of them are raising questions.”

Unlike traditional art exhibitions, another thing that makes the CIT Student Exhibition so unique is it hasn’t been curated. Instead of focusing on an overarching theme or concept, each student has picked a work that showcases their accomplishments and developmental skills.

“There’s no curatorial breadth, there’s no theme. Most of the works have come out of various exercises we do for class, so some will be purely technical, like still life, and some of them will be more experimental,” says Paul.

“They set the criteria. It wasn’t influenced by teachers or anyone else making decisions about which works to put in.”

Working closely with Strathnairn Arts, The Link was chosen as the exhibition space due to its intimate feel. Teaching the students to think about presentation – including how they would mount and frame their works – The Link provides a small, beautiful area for the students to get their first taste of exposure in the art world.

“When I looked at space, I thought it was a nice little stepping stone to get students out into the public. It’s not over the top, it’s quite a lovely, intimate space and, it’s in a lovely area…It was seen to be a soft entry into the industry,” says Paul.

“We have our students involved in a lot of competitions [at Strathnairn Arts]…we see that again as a bit of a stepping stone for some of those students, particularly the ones who have graduated with us to get some experience in the community with the professional arts organisations.”

Holding an official closing on Saturday 17 August (as opposed to an opening), Paul says that there’s nothing like watching the expression on the student’s faces when they see their work in a professional space – and from vibrant colours to unique perspectives, the exhibition is a tribute to the dedication, passion, and creativity of the next generation of artists.

“This will be the first time the majority of the students will have their work in an exhibition. It’s very exciting and there’s a lot of buzz.”

The CIT Student Exhibition is showing at The Link from Tuesday 9 July until Sunday 18 August.

Feature image ‘Right to Return’ by Eliott O’Dowd. Acrylic on panel.

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