Visual Art

Visual Art

The Curriculum

In Visual Art, Media Arts and Film, TV and New Media subjects students work with extended concepts allowing for a depth of meaning making and visual communication. They use an inquiry process of research, investigation, reflection, problem solving, development, critical analysis, synthesis and resolution.

In each level, the focus is on developing critical and visual literacies that are essential to understanding Australian Curriculum, cross-subject links and new Senior Syllabus requirements. Students develop skill sets essential to a range of academic and creative undertakings in areas such as Design, Events development, Architecture, even Reconstructive Surgery

Why study Visual Art?

Visual Art Subject Selection: Student Testimonials, past and present

Welcome to 2020 in the Art House

We can’t wait to share the great things that are planned – the new Senior Syllabus rolls into Units 3 and 4 and Glen Skien from Silent Parrot Press is coming to our studios for a full day of workshops with our Year 11 girls. click to the blog:

“To think effectively in terms of relations of qualities is as severe a demand upon thought as to think in terms of symbols, verbal and mathematical. Indeed, since words are easily manipulated in mechanical ways, the production of a work of genuine art probably demands more intelligence than does most of the so-called thinking that goes on among those who pride themselves on being “intellectuals.”

John Dewey, “Art as Experience,” John Dewey: The Later Works, 1925-1953, ed. Jo Ann Boydston, vol. 10 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1989), 52 (from Siegesmund)

A fabulous 8 Hours with Glen Skien

Glen spent the day with Year 11 Visual Art students (12 February). Glen is featured in the new Senior Syllabus textbook Creative Inquiry. His work is unique, innovative, process-based and focusses on the Poetics of Materiality – ideas that drive the new syllabus. Pictures speak more than words, so I’d like to share some images from the day … engrossed seems to sum up the day.


We do say this often …

STEAM vs STEM: Redefining key skills for the future

There was a lot happening in Visual Art at the end of 2019 … lots more to come in 2020

Year 8 Rangoli Day – collaboration, colourful problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, reflective evaluation…

Thank you to the generous support of SOCA for their kind contributions to make possible visits from some amazing guest artists to share their practice with our students:

Dr Jeanette Stok:
Postdoctoral Research Fellow & Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences UQ who has recently completed her Bachelor of Fine Art at QCA Southbank. Dr Stok shared her work exploring the Art and Science Interface with year 10, 11 and 12
Dr Renata Buziak – Artist Talk:
“My recent PhD research project focused on Australian medicinal plants. Resutling artwork created over several years can be viewed in the following albums: Medicinal Plant CyclesUnfolding RhythmsTreeLine, and Core Energy
Michelle Vine Artist Talk about Art Research Methodology

Artist Bio

Year 7 Eco Warriors: Wearable Art Presentation

Art Exhibition

Parent Information about the Visual Arts


Y11 Authentic Experience Day: The Avant Garden

The marvellous Michelle Vine shared her research methodology in an artist talk and adventured with us along Loders Creek and into Surfers Paradise as part of our artist/scientist-style evidence gathering project. In the afternoon, we headed south to the Walk on Water track at Minjungbal Tweed Heads, and onto Fingal Head for a sand casting and Labyrinth experience.

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Visit online Gallery of St Hilda’s Art …GOSHA

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We explore Contemporary issues: Jun Xie Year 11 experimental work: Fragile

Creative Generation Regional Awards 2019

Hannah Jo   

Pypah Kersh

Victoria Lawson

Amelia Butler


Why Study Art


Art & Science: a perfect match … take a listen from the NASA Studio Click for more options

Posted on: Monday, March 19, 2018 11:03:42 AM AEST


Why is art valuable and why do we need arts education? Leading Australian artists respond.

Test your Creativity Score … just for fun LINK

Take the Myers Briggs online Personality Test

Energies Exhibition Celebrations for 8 St Hilda’s Students

The ENERGIES 2017 exhibition showcases works of art by more than 80 talented senior secondary school students from across the Gold Coast. Existing in some form for over 30 years, ENERGIES compiles a dynamic range of works across varying forms of artistic media.

Congratulations to Angelina Holley Yr 11 and Miho Hiroe, Anastasia Lavrentyeva, Ruby Vaggelas pictured and Ella Seeto, Lily Clements-Markham, Aurora Johnston, Daisy Gray on fabulous works at a great evening of celebration. Congratulations to Mr Stephen Eardley of TSS for his long and dedicated commitment to this exhibition.

Creative Generation … Our Visual Art girls do it again … CONGRATULATIONS

Ella Seeto is the recipient of a Creative Generation Excellence Award, Ruby Vaggelas won the Regional Encouragement Award, and Aurora Johnston’s Desk Drawings was Highly Commended.

Ella will have her work Suburban Visage (below) hung in GOMA and continues an almost flawless 20 year tradition of award winners from St Hilda’s School. Her work was one of 31 artworks selected from 520 entries from the 8 regions of Queensland.

The works are on display at the Whitebox Gallery, Building G14 Griffith University until 6 September.

Ella Seeto’s Suburban Visage, a photographic diptych from the Alchemy Unit Semester 1. Artist Statement:

This work looks at a search for self within the ordinary confines of suburbia. My aim was to suggest both the physical and psychological reality of this search, and the idea that these are often juxtaposed, leading ultimately to the alchemy of the inner and outer resulting in a unique individual. The concept was triggered by Basquiat’s ‘quasi self-portrait’ and the idea that he was frightened of his spiritual discovery. In combination with my reflections on how people seem afraid of, or dismiss their true self on social media, even adopting a facade to conceal, protect, hide or shield their truth, underlies the notion explored in Suburban VIzard.

Process Statement

Photography allowed me to explore the impact of lighting to create the bleak, almost uncomfortable life of the subject ‘trapped’ in a particular situation. An awareness of light as a character in the photographs, also allowed me to capture a sense of hope through the soft, evocative, almost sensuous reflections off surfaces and through windows or cracks under doors. I experimented with long exposures and various settings to achieve the outcome I was searching for.  The images are barely touched in Photoshop, however this program assisted me in enhancing some elements of contrast.

Ruby Vaggelas’ What Difference does it make – photographic diptych and Video installation from the Alchemy Unit Semester 1. Artist Statement:

My work was created to spark questions about the nature of gender, how it can be expressed and, therefore defined. Gender is complex, it exists on a spectrum and a person’s gender is unique to them alone; however, traditional gender expectations are deeply entrenched in the fabric of society. In this work I wanted to invite an open engagement with the construct. True expression is so often hindered because society has repressed all variations of non-conformity; if it does not fit, it cannot be. Gender can also be projected onto an individual and this work explores that idea.

The Awards recognise and promote excellence in senior visual art education throughout Queensland state and non-state schools.

Since 1990, the program has helped raise community awareness of the degree of sophistication in concepts, diversity of technical competence, and the high standard of visual art education in Queensland secondary schools.

From similar regional shows held around Queensland between 31 student works were selected for Excellence Awards, with one Encouragement in each region. Excellence award winners will have their work hung in the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane during 2018. Currently, Holly Gibson and Georgina Harvey have works on show at GOMA.

Canungra Show Success for Stephanie and Lily Year 10

Steph Nickel won first prize this weekend for her Vanitas Painting and Lily Baker won most successful exhibitor for her photographic work. 

Generation Regional Exhibition: Griffith University Whitebox Gallery Saturday 26 August 10am for the announcement of Awards.

Congratulations to Ella SeetoRuby Vaggelas, Aurora Johnston, and Lily Clements-Markham on their selection to represent the school at the regional Creative Generation Excellence in Visual Art Exhibition at the Whitebox Gallery, Griffith University. The opening takes place on 26 August at 9.30 for 10 am presentation. How to get to the Whitebox on Saturday: G14 on the map.


“The new Arthouse is incredible.  It is spacious, bright and definitely inspiring. As a Year 12 student I can tell I will be very happy working on my Art assignment in Term 4 in this environment. I am very excited and ready to occupy” Sammy Jack

A New Year, New Visual Language Communication Tools

I’ve done a little experimentation with QR Codes to share the ideas behind the works the girls create. If you down load a free app for QR Codes, you can hear Aurora and Ella talking about their Year 11 Psychological Self Portrait body of work.

 Give it a try and see what you think. We will install these beside the girls’ works on display around the school so you are able to see the depth of critical and creative thinking that goes behind the finished product.

Congratulations to our Visual Culture Prefects on a job well done in 2016

Advocacy, support, community events, excellence in their own practice, the Symposium: Visual Cultures & Possible Futures, the Morgan Art Show, the Making Meaning exhibition … you did it all with such grace, professionalism and passion. Thank you x


Holly Gibson (Chair), Li En Peng, Sara Shuttlewood and Michelle Hsu MCs for the evening at the Making Meaning Exhibition. You have been magnificent.

Holly Gibson is a finalist in the Moran Photographic Student Prize

Abscreen-shot-2016-10-23-at-4-45-12-pmout the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize: Established in 2007, the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize (MCPP) is a national competition that awards and promotes Australian contemporary photography and excellence in all forms of still based artwork.

The MCPP invites photographers to interpret ‘Contemporary Life in Australia’ with an emphasis on Australians going about their day-to-day life. We aim to encourage the production of photographs taken in Australia, by Australians, that reflects the diversity, multiculturalism and uniqueness of life, no matter where you live in Australia.

Our Visual Art and FTVNM and Media Art students enjoyed seeing their work on display at the Morgan’s Art Show

… and a big thank you to our Visual Culture Prefects whose tenure is about to come to an end. Your badges of honour await.


Why we need Art

“We need thinkers, visionaries and creative minds. As the technology industry grows – and with it, employment opportunities – we need more candidates who are rooted in thought and fewer who can simply carry out a task. For those students graduating with a liberal arts degree, who are unsure where their job hunt will take them, we welcome you with open arms to technology, mathematics and computing. And for those in technology, celebrate your humanity and the the available cultural riches; become aware of the intuition and the poetry in what you do. Bring with you your love for beauty, passion and artistry, and be prepared to use them.”   Chair of Computer Science , Trinity University LINK to the whole article

And then there is this magic: John Olsen

Creative Generations Excellence in Visual Art Education Awardsholly-gibson-2

We are so very proud to announce that two of our Year 12 Visual Art students will have their work exhibited at GOMA, Southbank in Brisbane in 2017 after they were awarded a Creative Generations Excellence in Visual Art Education AwardGeorgina Harvey and Holly Gibson were each recognised with one of only 40 awards earned by Queensland Students. Georgina and Holly carry on a long tradition with this exhibition that began in 1998 with the awarding of Ann Lee and Camilla Jones when they were in Year 11 and followed up the next year by the same two girls who have gone on to have excitingly broad and creative careers, Ann in software design – having been one of 3 girls in the entire cohort of UNSW, going on to work international, Camilla in law, copyrighting, and she has recently returned to undertake further study at QCA.

georgina-2Since then, we have seen 18 of our girls honoured with Creative Generation Awards. View works presented in the various regional exhibitions throughout Queensland: VIEW We are equally proud of Emily Baker and Laura Nicholls who showed their work at the Redland’s Gallery amongst excellent company (opening today, Sunday 11 September).

Now for Energies at the Gold Coast Art Centre (see below). You have until 30 October to view the works on exhibition.

Entries in the Regional Creative Generation Exhibition for Excellence in Visual Art Education

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Congratulations to Holly Gibson, Georgina Harvey, Laura Nicholl sand Emily Baker whose works have been selected as part of the regional exhibition of entries into the 2016 Creative Generation Exhibition at Redlands Gallery on 11 September – please come along and support the girls. From the 10 Regional exhibitions around Queensland, up to 40 works will be selected to hang in GOMA. Fingers crossed that these girls will have their considerable talents recognised and join a long line of past students honoured in this exhibition. Image below: Georgina Harvey, Holly Gibson, Emily Baker and Laura Nicholls.


Holly Gibson: Veil              Georgina Harvey: Insight

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Entries for Energies Exhibition @ Gold Coast Art Gallery

Li En Peng H: 2 metres x 1.5 metres mixed media, Audrey Songvilay film stills, Bianca Mulheron photographic series, Maddy Thornton H: 1.5 x 1 metre photogram, Holly Gibson and Michelle Hsu.

Li En Peng St Hilda'sAudrey Songvilay film stills

Li En Peng Child’s Play                    Audrey Sonvilay stills from film Dysphoria

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Bianca Mulheron Simulacra et Simulation

Maddy Thornton St Hilda's small

Maddy Thornton Flux: Bleached Reef


Michelle Hsu Lovely Bones


Holly Gibson I am Here

Visual Cultures & Possible Futures Symposium

The event was a huge success. Thank you to all involved – to our Visual Culture Prefects; Holly Gibson, Li En Peng, Sara Shuttlewood and Michelle Hsu, so proud of you Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 9.09.48 am



Our hugely impressive presenters – from seasoned lecturers and international speakers to our youngest past student – Anastaszia Ward continued to praise our prefects and all our girls throughout the day and in messages afterwards, as did visiting teachers from other schools. Peter’s wish that our girls find their voice and their passion, and genuinely express it from their heart was realised in so many ways throughout the day. We missed Donna Marcus who was delayed in Perth installing her latest public art work, however, she streamed those proceedings to us on the day we were able to experience the event with her. Virginia Rigney’s image is missing from the post above; her presentation was truly inspiring and I’m sure those present have a new respect for the work of our local gallery..

Year 11 Life Drawing Masterclass with Skye Llewellyn

Thursday 10 March saw the Yr 11 Visual Art class learning from the very talented Skye Llewellyn in a 3 hour life drawing class in the Old Library Art Studio. The studio that is soon to be converted into our new Visual Arts Faculty Centre for Excellence and will house FTVNM, Visual Art and Media Art subjects, provided the perfect venue for the after-school class. The students were just a little amazed at their capabilities and enjoyed the evening. They have a new appreciation of this centuries old ‘seeing’ practice that is essentially a set of skills for translating from three into two dimensions.

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Another Fabulous Labyrinth Experience for Year 11 @ Fingal

For 15 years, our visual art students have been introduced to the Senior Work Program through this ritual. This year’s Year 11 class took the 10 hour journey to explore the centre and back on a spectacular day and full moon evening at Fingal Beach. We pondered the idea of an Alumni Labyrinth in 2017 to celebrate the opening of the new Centre for Excellence in the Visual Arts.





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Our Senior Visual Art Program is based on the metaphor of the Labyrtinth

The path leads you on a circuitous, but guided path to the centre before a return to the world. It invites a connection with intuition, creativity, insight and imagination, the treasures gleaned then undergo an objective investigation involving research, critical analysis, synthesis and reflection. At its most basic level the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the centre of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are. Moving through a labyrinth changes ordinary ways of perception by connecting the inner and the outer, logic and instinct, it is both involutional and the evolutional. ”

In the sense that artists explore their ideals and speculate on the meaning of matters of defining importance to them in their art, it is a spiritual endeavor.”

Jonathan Fineberg, Art Since 1940, Strategies of Being. Preface. Second Edition, 2003

See high lights of our Year 12 visit to UQ + QAGOMA APT8 17 Feb

Some insights into the Philosophy of our Faculty

Images and art objects are an essential ‘first language’, and as such, fluency in visual literacy is accessible to everyone from the start, and for the whole of their life, given sequential exposure to a quality visual education.

AlScreen Shot 2016-02-06 at 8.57.11 pmmost every child in every culture makes drawings in an effort to understand their world. Children understand the power of marks, the movement of a line through space, the essence of colour to evoke emotion and the power of images to hold great intent and carry personal meaning. However, as with other forms of literacy, without practice and an appreciation of sequential development, understanding and skill levels remains under developed.

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Supported by the research work of some of the 21st century luminaries such as Howard Gardner, Elliot Eisner and Antonio Damazio, and cognizant of research into best practice in girls’ education, St Hilda’s Visual Art work programmes privilege visual literacy as a powerful expressive form and a philosophically engaging, academic pursuit.

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 8.50.56 pmThe power of the visual to translate, emit and express huge concepts, not to mention help us share in the perception of some great minds, is undeniable. Equally important, is the fact that we live in a visual environment full of images that students must be able to read and critique, especially in the media, if they are not to become victims to the selfish whims of vested interest etc.

Critical literacy in the visual environment is as important as it is in the written and verbal one. There are some things (feelings, knowings, realisations, memories) that cannot be approximated to words.

above: Lia by Li En Peng, graphite and watercolour on mixed media paper

Visual Art will make students better thinkers … and nicer people.

A new study supports our hunch that kids who are exposed to the arts gain benefits beyond being ‘more creative. “We don’t know if art makes you better at critical thinking when solving a puzzle or a math problem,” says Greene. “But we don’t have to translate math and reading into art to know they’re good. Why should we have to translate art into reading and math? Art is doing something on its own and that’s what we care about.”    Jennifer Miller

Explore our Visual Art and Media Art VA&MA on Facebook

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Enjoy  images of our FABULOUS Year 7 Eco-Warrior Artists’ Wearable Art Show

In the form of an ISSUE publication – click the image below

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Congratulations Holly Gibson: a honed and mindful visual awareness with an impact

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Holly’s work Body Image has taken the prize for best manipulated image at Capture. The work was one of 800 entries and one of 5 finalists. Holly is a Year 11 student studying Visual Art and Film, TV and New Media. Her prolific output in the Visual Art final task; Synaesthesia: Psychological Self-Portraits has been quite outstanding.

The work will now be displayed in the Reeves Gallery along with several of her other works that clearly point to Holly’s honed and mindful visual awareness.

Della Evans will be speaking at the Gold Coast Art Gallery

Della Evans St Hilda's School The Imprint of MemoriesDella was one of 5 finalists in the Radfly Art Prize for Imprints of Memory judged on Friday 16 October … AND DELLA WON!

Della spoke about her work in Gallery 2 of the Gold Coast Art Gallery on Friday 13 November as part of HISTORY AND MEMORY IN A FAST GROWING CITY

Della at the GOld Coast Art Gallery“‘Imprints of Memories’ talks about change and transformation particularly through emotion and experience. A hospital symbolizes life events and my work overlays these with emotional content. Being sick as a baby in the recently demolished Gold Coast Hospital had a permanent affect on my life, not only emotionally but also physically. The lighting, framing and subject matter serve as a metaphor for the emotions evoked by this event. The work encapsulates the notion of physical and psychological imprints left by the people who have now been released in the demolition of the building.”

Speakers included: Alan Griffith, architect of Council’s existing Surfers Paradise Administration Building, which is being demolished to make way for the new Cultural Precinct Local creative Claudio Kirac presents his personal documentation project on the change of Pacific Fair Dr Nicole Sully, Lecturer, School of Architecture, University of Queensland.

Della GCAG panel

Mari Hirata Artist Visit

Mari Hirata

Year 11 Visual Art students were very lucky to have a visit from the talented Mari Hirata on 20 October. Students are studying the photographic medium as a meaning making tool for their Psychological Self-Portrait Unit and Mari took them through some ‘old school techniques’ with fine art outcomes. Several of Mari’s works were acquired for the new Gold Coast University Hospital Collection. ONLINE

Mari Hirata Video

Read about the subject from our students’ point of view

Yr 11 Life Drawing master class with Lorraine Abernethy

We are guided and directed in our works and assessments, but really, it is a very independently driven course, which has not only helped me to manage my time efficiently but prepared me for university. I have learned so much – both academically and personally.” Daisy Lee 2014

IMG_5382smallOur inspired students have gone on to study and work in an exponentially growing range of careers having learned valuable life-long skills from their time in the subject – flexible thinking, resilience, creative problem solving, and importantly for life/job satisfaction, how to recognise and exploit a ‘flow experience’. Not every girl goes on to work in the Arts, however; the subject has a positive impact and students attribute part of their success to the critical and creative thinking they engage in as they enjoy the breadth of opportunities the program offers.

With careers they love, from software design to law, high fashion to medicine, architecture to psychology, as practicing artists, curators and designers, our girls are thriving in an ever changing and increasingly visual world. One thing they have in common is a love of and commitment to life-long learning, critical thinking and the ability to see and appreciate what the world has to offer.

Our inquiry-learning process enables this approach to art and to life, and encourages personal responses to contemporary issues.

Please visit our Visual Arts Blog to read what past students have to say about the subject and how it has continued to contribute to their well being and their livelihood: Contribute to the survey?

Read down for the latest news in the faculty.

Remember … Art can do incredible things for your mind and body …

Li En Peng Detail work in progress IMG_1336

Left: Li En Peng’s work in progress in preparation for the 2016 Energies Exhibition

Read about a study into the benefits of look at and making art: LINK

“The visual art production intervention involved the development of personal expression and attentional focus on self-related experience during art creation.” Utilizing motor skills and thinking about art together becomes more beneficial instead of doing either separately.”


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Below is a timelapse video of the Year 7 Rangoli project. The students investigated the tradition of rangoli making by Hindi women and then constructed individual, small group and then this large communal piece. The rangoli is traditionally made by women during Deepawali and other Indian festivals. Our rangolis use a mass of recyclable materials.

Telephone Noir by Annalise Whittingham, Eve McCauley, Angeline Holley.


The Visual Arts at St Hilda’s has a rich curriculum offering a confluence of experiential and research-based practice supported by enhanced opportunities in a variety of co-curricular activities such as: renowned guest speakers and artist workshops, Creative Generations Award for Excellence in Visual Art Education, Energies Exhibition for Excellence in Art at the Gold Coast Art Gallery, Labyrinth Day, master classes,life-drawing classes, The Making Meaning Exhibition, and excursions.

Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Hope, Grace