More Than Just Plastic Bags
By Zara Goodman, Year 11, Freshwater Christian College
Picture this. A bustling backstage, chockfull of anxious girls as they clamber about in plastic, denim and all manner of materials. Colour confronts you from all sides: orange, blue, gold, pink. Someone’s wearing a dress covered in LED lights and someone else is wearing cards. Students are constructing makeshift changing rooms out of jumpers, styling their hair and applying the last flourishes of makeup. The air is brimming with life. A lady’s voice booms over a microphone: the show is about to begin. One by one each girl lines up in front of the stairs to the T-shaped catwalk. If everyone wasn’t already nervous, they certainly are now. The rest proceeds in a blur.
On Thursday 19 July, Freshwater Christian College participated in the 2018 Cairns Show Wearable Arts Competition. Our team was comprised of designers, Grace Nucifora, 16, Lorien Broadwater, 16, Leandrie Snell, 15, Hannah Fourie, 15, Bethany Jenkins, 15 and Elia Baildon, 15, with Zara Goodman, 16, Lizy Williams, 16, and Lia Nucifora, 14, as models – all led by Secondary Art Teacher, Mrs Renee Nsengimana.
Out of the nine pieces that Freshwater Christian College entered, Grace Nucifora’s Perfection and Exploiting Fashion claimed first and second place, respectively. To say that everyone was overjoyed at the win, would be an understatement. We were positively over the moon!
Now, you may be thinking:
Why wearable art? What’s the big deal? Isn’t it just clothing made of plastic bags and other recycled goods?
Wearable art is not two-dimensional or untouchable as paintings are. Nor are they stagnant sculptures. Wearable art is physical, animated and living.
“I teach wearable art because I believe art has evolved to be much more than painting and drawing,” Mrs Nsengimana says. “Art is a powerful tool of expression. More importantly, it’s an avenue where artists can influence the belief systems of others and positively contribute towards change in our environment.” This belief is something that Mrs Nsengimana, and the rest of the College Leaders, aspire to cultivate in their students through the Freshwater Christian College Arts Program. “I want my students to think outside of the box! For them to be able to construct pieces birthed from deep and analytical thinking. They are urged to affect audiences’ opinions and perspectives with the art they produce,” Mrs Nsengimana says. “It is irrelevant if you want to pursue art as a career or not. The ability to make sense of the world we live in and construct your own opinion around it is an essential skill. Art is just one of the mediums you can utilise to do so.”
Miss Nucifora, who claimed first and second place, has always been a hardworking and enthusiastic artist. Each of her pieces are constructed around powerful and controversial topics such as equality, freedom of expression and self-appreciation. She emphasises the design element of texture by layering fabrics, paints and glues, she has always paid attention to the little things. This attention to detail is one of the reasons her pieces won first and second.
“Grace is a passionate learner and a dedicated worker, she basically lives in our art room, every lunch she is there pottering away at some mini detail, or even pulling something apart and starting again. Mrs Nsengimana says.
Freshwater Christian College is very proud of the achievements of their students, and congratulate all of the contestants on their fantastic wearable art pieces. Mrs Nsengimana will once again be leading her team of nine girls down to Brisbane to compete in the state finals at the Brisbane Ekka on Saturday 11 August.
“The girls did very well last year, we were fortunate to have Grace place 1st and Lorien Broadwater placed 3rd” Mrs Nsengimana says. “We are all so excited to be competing again this year. It’s been a long journey getting here and everyone has worked so hard. I’m so proud of my girls.”