Eastwood student reaches Young Archie finals

Lots of practice and a decision to embrace colour have earned Marist College Eastwood student Lakshman Nitish Ramesh a place on the walls of the Art Gallery of NSW.

The Year 11 student is one of just ten 16-18 year old finalists in this year’s prestigious Young Archie competition, chosen from among 2,100 entries in all categories of the competition.

His work, a self-portrait drawn with pencils, illustrates the transitional nature of being a young adult. His own image is drawn in black and white, symbolising that he’s yet to make many key choices, but he’s surrounded by a bright, red-yellow gradient.

“That was my first time using colour – I usually only use black and white,” said Lakshman Nitish, called Nitish at school.

“They’re warm colours – so they can mean happy, joyful and harmonious, and at the same time they can mean confusion, disharmony, anger and frustration.”

“I’m coming of age and having a lot of new experiences, which is why I chose that duality.”

Nitish has always enjoyed drawing, but early attempts at external classes fell flat. It wasn’t until Marist Art Teacher Dennis Lee praised his talent that he started to take Art seriously.

“In Year 7, he noticed I had a decent hand for drawing. I was just doing some random stuff, and he said ‘that’s not too bad’.”

“I didn’t realise he was serious until the middle of Year 8. He said ‘you should actually start practicing more’ and my current Art Teacher, Ms Spurr, recommended a teacher I could see outside of school.”

A pragmatist, Nitish believes that innate talent is only a very small part of the reason behind his success. He said the countless hours he’s spent perfecting his skills – including the 15 to 20 hours he invested in his winning image – have been more valuable than any inherent creativity.

Being selected as a finalist in the ‘Young Archie’ competition is a massive achievement

– Anthony Boys

As the only male finalist in his division, he said the dual misperceptions that Art isn’t hard work and can’t lead to a successful career is likely behind the decision by many boys to abandon the subject in early high school.

Nitish is already considering his HSC Visual Arts major work, which he hopes will be a painting. He’s not sure he’ll seek a full time career in fine arts after school but is considering architecture, design and other paths that where he can put his skills to use.

Mr Anthony Boys, Principal of Marist College Eastwood said Nitish’s diligence and achievement is a huge credit to his school.

“Being selected as a finalist in the ‘Young Archie’ competition is a massive achievement and a huge validation of Lakshman’s perseverance and determination,” he said

“[It is] also a testament to the dedication, hard work and talents of the College’s Visual Arts department.”

The winners of this year’s Young Archie awards will be announced on 10 August.

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