Clancy Art Prize unites art and faith

Students in Catholic secondary schools across Sydney have celebrated art and faith at the annual Clancy Prize for Religious Art.

A curated exhibition of entries is on display at ACU’s McGlade Gallery, giving students the opportunity to see their work hanging in a public gallery.

This year, top honours went to Year 10 Patrician Brothers College student Nelson Fasavalu who took out the Executive Director’s Award for his triptych painting, “Experienced, Encountered, Elevate”.

The prize was launched in 1999 by the former Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Edward Clancy, to celebrate religious art as a powerful force in the service of humanity.

The theme of the 2023 exhibition is ‘Pilgrimage, the inner and outer journey to seek transformation’.

Associate Professor Victoria Carruthers from ACU’s National School of Arts and Humanities was part of the judging panel and said the Clancy Prize was an important opportunity to showcase the creative talents of young artists.

“It’s about promoting Catholic schools as a centre of creativity and giving students a chance to develop and showcase their skills,” she said.

“This prize is unique in that it is open to students from Year 7 to 12, and there are categories for collaborative works, as well as individual pieces.

“It also gives secondary art teachers an opportunity to encourage and mentor their students, developing skills well beyond the setting of the classroom.”

Associate Professor Carruthers said the annual exhibition was one of several programs that connected ACU with local communities, allowing for meaningful education opportunities and reconnection through the arts.

“We have a close relationship with these schools through our placement system of students, and these kinds of collaborations are central ACU’s Mission,” she said.

“It’s lovely to see things come full circle – we send our students into Catholic schools, and many of them come back to our gallery to showcase the work of their students.

“There is a real sense of intergenerational connection and community.”

The individual and collaborative works winners were announced on 15 September, and spanned painting, drawing, sculpture and digital prints.

The exhibition is open until 20 September at the McGlade Gallery on the Strathfield Campus.

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