The St Clare’s College Waverley Year 12 graduate’s painting Nawawalang Wika – which means Lost Language in Tagalog – was selected for HSC Visual Arts showcase ARTEXPRESS from more than 9,000 student artworks across NSW.
The painting will be on show at Orange Regional Gallery in August. Her parents have already planned a road trip to attend the exhibition’s opening night.
Even though it was a HSC assessment, it didn’t feel like it because I really enjoyed it.
Beatrice said she considered physical, mental and emotional displacement during a Year 11 assessment task before deciding to pursue cultural displacement as the subject of her artwork.
“I have Filipino friends who can’t speak Tagalog because they have grown up with English their entire lives,” she said.
“I happen to be the exception because I grew up in the Philippines, moving back and forth from the UK for about 12 years so I was able to learn. My grandmother speaks to me in English even when I respond to her in Tagalog, because she assumes I can’t speak the language though I speak it fluently.”
Beatrice’s experience lends truth to the saying ‘Good things come in threes’. About 20 minutes after she found out her painting had been selected for ARTEXPRESS, she received an email offering her entry to her first preference for tertiary study – a film degree at the Australian Film Television and Radio School.
An hour later she was given a new job after a successful same-day interview.
A St Clare’s student has been selected to the prestigious ARTEXPRESS exhibition every year since 2015, and Band 6 results (the highest possible) are common in Visual Arts at the school.
Beatrice puts this down to the expertise of the art teachers she has had since Year 8 – both experienced HSC Visual Arts markers and one a former Art Gallery of NSW employee.
“They’re just amazing,” Beatrice said.
“I think that is also why my performance in Art was great – because I responded to their passion and their teaching.
“They knew the moment they started complimenting us we would stop growing as a student and artist. That’s why they kept pushing us to try our best.”
Beatrice said she painted for up to 15 hours per week.
“Even though it was a HSC assessment, it didn’t feel like it because I really enjoyed it. I didn’t expect to be selected for ARTEXPRESS.”
“It’s strange because you’ve been working on this thing for so long, then all of a sudden you get your marks back and you think you will get your painting back, then they’re like ‘ No, no, we’re going to keep it for a while’.”
Beatrice has also found her niche in online student community ATAR Notes. She now shares her HSC knowledge and experience with current and future students by writing study guides for Visual Arts and Society and Culture – subjects previously underrepresented on the website.
She published her first guide in September last year and has now become a site moderator.
“I’ve made some friends from the website too which is pretty cool,” she said. “I think that’s what boosted my confidence during the HSC as well – these past students who are still passionate about teaching HSC content.”