Creative Generation: In Residence 2020

‘Creative Generation: In Residence’ is a three-day program that provides Year 10 students from across Queensland the opportunity to work closely with an artist as they learn and experiment with new processes and techniques.

In 2020, the students were mentored by Abdul Abdullah who stepped them through the process of painting a portrait.

Renee Yu Han Lau
Mansfield State High School
Dear future self 

Times when the past seems no longer important and fades or passes away sparingly, the younger self reaches out as a representative. A reminder is sent by the younger self to recall youth and previous experiences, trying not to let the previous and future self forget that it is what makes and defines a person. ‘Ji de wo’ or ‘remember me’ is written in white on top of the portrait composed similarly to a photo used for a funeral to express a death of the past as my younger self’s last words, reminding me to never let go of the moments I was young, wild and free.

Jamie Mohr
St Patrick’s College Townsville

The artwork, Imagine, represents the need for peace in our turbulent world. It is children who shoulder the burden of repairing this lack of tolerance, resolving the many facets of injustice, and breaking the cycle of inter-generational hatred. The future of peace rests with youth. Imagine reflects on this notion, evoking both empathy and sensitivity within audiences. The young girl’s initial innocence is overpowered by the depth of understanding present in her pensive expression. The slight angle of the portrait allows the figure to appear as though she is looking up at the viewer, highlighting her youth, and revealing her sense of knowing, which is in stark contrast to her age. This work intends to spur viewers into responding to the world’s yearning for peace, as well as compelling audiences to recognise that responsibility for establishing harmony should not lie solely with youth.

Angela Bevis
The Gap State High School
Blink of Anxiety

Anxiety is a common and difficult mental illness that can take over people’s lives and even lead to other mental illnesses. For people suffering most of the time, it feels as though everyone is judging and watching their every move, and if no one is there to judge them they judge themselves. What this self-portrait captures is the occasional fading of all that fear, and the few rare seconds of pure, raw, self. Bed hair, snorting laughter, red pimpled undefined eyebrows are what make humans, and those precious moments where they escape are what make life.

Isabella Martin
Kuranda District State College
Happiness is within us

This is a portrait of my little sister who always has a smile on her face. No matter what is happening around her, whether the situation is stressful or calm, she seems to live in her own world where she can always find joy. This is why I chose the abstract colour spectrum and placement of clouds in the background, representing her joyful fantastical world.

Loretta MacNellie
Hills International College (Jimboomba)
Tsuneyuki Miwa

Tsuneyuki Miwa is a Japanese man who has been working at my school since it was founded in 1992. He is a kind, energetic and positive person who strives to make people happy. His bright spirit radiates through his smile and facial expressions. That’s part of the reason I chose to paint him. Mr Miwa moved to Australia because he wanted to make connections between Australia and Japan — particularly through education. Tsuneyuki Miwa places an importance on general fitness and continues to run marathons. I symbolised this through the Nike sweatband across his head. I kept this as a white outline as I was interested in Abdul Abdullah’s artworks with his signature white lines overlaid on his backgrounds. My painting has been done in a personal context and how I view Mr. Miwa. As I worked my way through the process, I realised not only is my portrait of a man who has interesting features and an outstanding personality, he is also the type of person with clear morals and someone to look up to. A key to a compassionate society for the future. Mr. Miwa is a perfect role model for the younger generations. I think that’s what stands out to me about him. Good people deserve a spotlight and to be recognised.

Savithna Jayasekara
Rockhampton Grammar School
Paarbon Siddiqui

Paarbon Siddiqui is my close friend from Bangladesh. She has lived away from Bangladesh her whole life, living in England and Australia. This portrait explores cultural displacement in today’s western society. Paarbon lives in a predominately white rural area in Central Queensland. She has grown up in a whitewashed society away from her cultural roots which are underrepresented in both the media and history. Paarbon like others in her situation often feel ‘whitewashed’, due to this lack of representation from other cultures and often feels forced into western cultural norms, such as the wearing of western clothes. The nose ring and the bhindi on her forehead are placed to create a contrast between the two cultures. Paarbon positioned looking towards the English words ‘misplaced’ and facing away from the Sinhala words draws the viewers’ attention to her loss of culture. The words have been written in Sinhala as I feel my Sri Lankan culture is fast becoming a distant memory, moving to Australia at a young age. The eyes facing away from the Sinhala words also accentuates the disconnect she feels from her culture as Paarbon does not speak or write in her Bangladeshi mother tongue known as Bengali.

Caitlin Cronin
Columba Catholic College (Charters Towers)
Suppressio Veri

‘Suppressio veri’ is a Latin phrase meaning the concealment of truth. Suppressio Veri is more than a smile on a face; at first glance, the girl appears to be happy with a sassy vibe but the eyes a different picture. They are windows to the soul depicting a deeper meaning and this where the sad faces in the background express the deeper meaning and displaying her inner thoughts. That everything is not as good as her face is expressing. What inspired me most for this theme is the impact social media has on many teenagers and many people put on a brave face to not show that they are suffering so they don’t have to bother people with their problems.

Brandon Hooper
Brisbane School of Distance Education

Glitched is a self-portrait of the artist demonstrating the effect anxiety can have on a person. This has been done by painting digital shapes over one eye and half of the mouth, breaking the intimacy between the subject and the audience. Anxiety can adversely affect how an artist views their work and shares their talent with the world. A solid white background has been used to allow the colours of the digital shapes and the subject’s shirt to stand out. Red has been used for the shirt to demonstrate the anger and frustration that comes when anxiety holds a person back while juxtaposing the joy their talent brings them.

Poppy Saines
The Gap State High School

Undercurrents is a work depicting my mother. She is depicted showing two expressions: joy, and a state of pensiveness. The state of joy sits at the front of the composition while the pensive expression blends into the background and fades with it like a ghost. At the top, I used the writing from a story my mother is working on called Undercurrents. This theme of currents follows down the composition to the blue bottom which appears like currents, with its use of large, flowing brushstrokes. Layering has been used a lot to create the portrait of my mother, using thick amounts of paint and building them up. Undercurrents is a depiction of how I see my mother and our relationship as well as a portrayal of her personality and identity.

Mikayla Davies
Cannon Hill Anglican College
A Moment for Just the Two of Us?

Designed to explore ideas of love outside of social norms, this portrait displays the visage of my significant other. Surrounded by lines from Ancient Greek poet Sappho’s 31, they are painted in the colours of the gender fluid pride flag to communicate their identity beyond the typical gender binary. Between only 10 and 15 countries globally legally recognise the identities of non-binary people, which can act as a huge barrier for them to engage with social institutions such as marriage. The industry of love is prevailingly heteronormative and cisgender, alienating those who are LGBTQ+, especially those who deviate from gender norms. Love is so often hailed as being universal, so why are we burdening it so with petty ideals of ‘normalcy’?

Constance Harris
Cairns State High School
This is not a persona

Do you ever feel as though you are a different person among others? Every time you talk to someone new, a different personality becomes you — but it’s never truly your own. Is it fear or fantasy that compels us to create this image? Do we want people to see us, or are we hiding from them? But this perfect picture fools them every time. All they see is the flat surface you show them, not the rest hiding behind it. But they are just as flat as you. We still try to quieten the other sides of us, scared that they would give away the composition that we have so carefully created. Because the truth is that people don’t fit into one pigeonhole of ‘personality’. There are a thousand colours that make up you. The question is, which will you be today?

Teeah Burns
Nambour State College
Just Like You

A portrait of a stranger confronts you, doe-eyed and dark skinned. A portrait of your prejudice confronts you. Do you interpret the green as alien or earth? The sunspots, the way the light jumps off her skin. She is just like you. Do you take the amount of melanin in her skin as a message in a bottle — where her heritage allows you to treat her as though she is an outsider, inhuman. She is not. She is just like you. Nothing separates the two of you. You have melanin in your skin. Blood in your veins. Eyes in your skull — surely you can see she is just like you.

Amelia Dennis
Lockyer District State High School
blue eyed blondie

This piece is a portrait of a very ‘alternative’ styled female with bold makeup, piercings, no eyebrows, black hair etc. The more I painted her, the more I started to realise how she really went against ‘social norms’ and isn’t that everyday ‘blue eyed blondie’ who fits the current so-called beauty standard. She’s got her own unique style and based on that would come with a lot of stereotypes of maybe she’s a ‘stoner’ or worships the devil just primarily based on how different she looks. The piece is busy with the overlaying of the felt tip pen, covering her surroundings with stereotypes and eerie phrases to ‘fit’ her look when in reality, you don’t actually know what she’s like. A lot of us resort to ‘judging a book by its cover’ and are too focused on that rather than actually getting to know somebody for them.

Mali Smedts
Cairns State High School

The ability to just stop and chill is a skill which has to be learned for most people. To be able to turn your brain off and live in the moment. Whenever I’m with my best friend Leia I can do that, and all my worries go away. My reference image used was of her submerged in water up to her chin which is one of my favourite pictures I’ve taken of her and I had been meaning to paint it for a while. The small characters around Leia are called ‘Nishfets’. They’re dudes which I made up in a science class and they represent freedom of expression and the ability to be yourself.

Kelsey Hayward
Nambour State College

Us is a work based on the relationship between me and my girlfriend, whom I have known for quite a long time, and the progression of our relationship. It focuses on our growth and moving past our bad memories. The incorporation of the white line is a representation of our positive memories and positive emotions towards each other. The black line is representative of imperfections and faults in our relationship, bringing attention to possible bad events that have happened in the past, yet the blue line represents moving past those events. It focuses on growth and the progression of our relationship and how we were able to grow out of our initial bad feelings toward each other.

Saanvi Roy
All Saints Anglican School (Merrimac)
Favorite Girl

She sits with her legs in the proper position, taking up as less space as possible. She is never too loud or too quiet; she is calmly serene and always smiles coyly. She is presentable, her fingernails perfectly manicured and not a baby hair in sight. She is clever, but not too clever, funny, but not funnier than who she surrounds herself with. She is a mirror, a reflection of the best parts of everyone else, merely a complementary afterthought. She is a woman and she loves being subjugated. It is true that she makes for a beautiful decoration.


Reuben Collins
All Saints Anglican School (Merrimac)

Alejandro Jodorowsky is a true outlier in all senses of the word. He is an infamous creative genius whose work, particularly his films, have inspired so much of today’s pop culture, often unbeknownst to Jodorowsky himself. This painting depicts just this, a quietly chaotic figure who in his old age is just as visionary as ever. The subtle pallet of the background patterns complements the vast array of colours presented in Jodorowsky’s face. Although the colour of the patterns is somewhat dull, the subject of the patterns themselves is a wild maze of dots and lines. The eyes found throughout the painting pattern are a subtle hint to the work of Jodorowsky who often uses Buddhist symbols to depict his mind bending and seemingly disjointed storylines. However, just as in the painting the maze-like patterns are an accolade to the main subject to the moral of his movies.

Liesel O’Halloran
Nambour State College

This portrait is of my little brother Dylan. He is very self-conscious of his smile so in any photo of him, he looks very unhappy. I managed to get a photo of him laughing and that is the photo I chose to paint of him. He is very special to me being my little brother and I love the fact that this portrait showcases his smile so in the portrait, I emphasised his big smile by making the background a very light and neutral colour.

Georgia Jensen
Marist College Emerald
Tête dans les nuages

Tête dans les nuages is a painting derived from a photograph of my younger sister as inspiration. The idea of using another language to convey a message was not originally planned and came to me during the creative process. There was no particular reason for using French, other than the beauty of the language, which reflects the beauty of the subject. Translated to ‘head in the clouds’, the phrase indicates the young mind of my sister, whom appears blind to the hardships of the world. The pearls placed around her eyes and on her finger symbolise perfection and incorruptibility. She sits upon a cloud, with a solid light blue background, which gives the appearance as if she is in amongst the clouds.

Weleiane Hickey
Woree State High School

Kealey Nolan
Woree State High School

Rachel Van Duyn
Woree State High School

Creative Generation: In Residence

The ‘Creative Generation: In Residence‘ program is a Queensland Department of Education program, supported by the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA).

Banner image: ‘Creative Generation: In Residence‘ 2020 students from Cairns State High School and Woree State High School participating in the program at NorthSite Gallery, Cairns / Photograph: Andrew Watson / Courtesy: Queensland Department of Education