When Grace Lozenkovski set out to draw a portrait of her grandfather, the Year 11 Albion Park High School student never expected to see it hung in an art gallery.
She is among students from 13 Illawarra public high schools who submitted their work in the annual student art exhibition Every artist was first an amateur.
Ahead of the grand opening on Wednesday, November 8, students were busy setting up the art show inside Wollongong Project Contemporary Artspace.
Grace was inspired by her grandfather, a mechanic and avid painter. Surrounded by his paintings at home, she picked up a lead pencil to draw his portrait.
"He's probably one of the kindest people you could meet and he has a really good sense of humour," she said.
"[Drawing] is just my outlet for like any emotion that I have - it's just something that I guess flows through me."
Albion Park art teacher Lucy Pulham said the exhibition, which is open to Year 10 and 11 public students from Bulli to Kiama, was about inspiring students at their starting point.
"It's just mostly to encourage students that there's a starting point ... and you have to work towards becoming a professional artist, so there's always hope," Ms Pulham said.
"We're themed around quality and inclusivity, so we really want to showcase the talents and creativity that is happening in our classrooms day-to-day."
The artwork mediums are as diverse as the group of students. The exhibition includes photography, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, drawing, painting, visual design works, and visual design shirts.
Dapto High School student Nerida Field submitted her photography 'Time Capsule' which captures the nostalgia of her bedroom.
"It has lots of memories of my childhood there because I've lived there my whole life," Nerida said.
The Year 11 student experimented with the lighting and settings of her iPhone to create a collection of photos.
"The symbolism of my childhood toys, home videos, and the setting of my bedroom ... I aimed to convey a strong sense of nostalgia, " she said in her art statement.
High schools participating in the exhibition were Albion Park, Bulli, Dapto, Figtree, Illawarra Sports, Kanahooka, Lake Illawarra, Oak Flats, Smith Hills, Warilla, Warrawong, Wollongong High Schools of the Performing Arts, and Woonona.
The exhibition at the Project Contemporary Artspace in Wollongong runs till November 19, 2023.
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