Clancy Prize for religious art showcases Catholic school talent

Monday, 29 March 2010

23 March 2010: Gavin Lacanillo, a former St Mary’s Cathedral College student, was this month named the winner of The Clancy Prize Religious Art Exhibition at Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Strathfield Campus.

Gavin Lacanillo with his winning entry at ACU’s McGlade Gallery, Strathfield Gavin Lacanillo with his winning entry at ACU’s McGlade Gallery, Strathfield.
Photo: Kitty Beale / Catholic Education Office.

The exhibition at the University’s McGlade Gallery is in its 11th year and is run collaboratively by the Catholic Education Office (CEO) Sydney and ACU. It gives high school students the opportunity to explore religious themes through visual art.

This year’s exhibition, based on the theme ‘You are the salt of the earth… you are the light of the world’ (Matt 5:13-14), showcases 76 art works from 34 Catholic secondary schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney.

Gavin’s four-part entry on canvas, entitled Scratching the Surface, was made using a mix of acrylic, glass and pencils. The 17-year-old said the self-portraits were created to “peel back the layers and expose a true self”.

“I just wanted to present myself as a true reflection of the person I am underneath, not just being taken for what I look like,” Gavin said. “I wanted to represent the outside of me as a repository for a lot of stereotypes and judgements that I come across in society, and other cultures.”

Dr Dan White, Executive Director of Catholic Schools said he was impressed by the calibre of work on show this year.

“The majority of works have picked up, very spiritually, on this year’s theme,” he said. “We all have a place in the world in which we not only express our identity, but our core values that tap into how we interact with our greater spiritual identity.”

Dr Karen Maras, Lecturer in Visual Arts Education at ACU, said The Clancy Prize was an expression of the deep and abiding relationship between the visual arts and religious belief.

“Through these wonderful artworks we gain insights into the ideas and issues that students contemplate as they negotiate their complex worlds,” she said. “The Clancy Prize demonstrates the richness and quality of visual arts education in our Catholic schools.”

Lachlan Warner, Senior Lecturer in Visual Arts at ACU and competition judge, said: “The extraordinarily high calibre of imagination and effort that these students achieve makes my experience as a judge more difficult, and I love it. Our visual culture is in good hands.”