Graduate Exhibition gives local artists a voice

Finding a connection between the ocean, anxiety and her ancestors was the inspiration behind Gold Coast artist Jade Hopley‘s contribution to the Southern Cross University Graduate Exhibition.

Her photography exhibition, Mulloman – which means “sea in Biripi language – depicts different movements of the waves as they crash on the sand. Biripi is the Indigenous language of the mid north coast of New South Wales.

But the biggest benefit from this series of works is in the way it helped Jade manage her anxiety.

One afternoon I was actually experiencing an anxiety attack, so I went outside to the beach to try and centre myself,” she says.

I was watching the water bubble up along the water’s edge and realised that it was a pretty accurate visual representation of the feeling I had in my belly in that moment. That was where it all began.

The ocean has been a sanctuary for me, whether I’m under the water swimming, snorkelling or connecting with the energy of the ocean when surfing on my longboard. Making art helps a lot.

I think we all have our own sanctuaries and it’s just a matter of finding what helps you as an individual and really making the effort to get into that thing or that place, even when you can’t possibly imagine leaving the house.

Jade, from Kirra, is one of 17 Southern Cross University art and design graduates who have their work on display at Lismore Campus as part of the annual Graduate Exhibition.

Jade has been travelling to Lismore to complete her degree and is already making plans to start her Masters degree.

Bachelor of Art and Design course coordinator Dr Stephen Garrett says that attending art school allows students to shift their perceptions of who they are in the world, and how they see the world.

Art school unlocks a curiosity for looking and has an expectation for that looking to be turned inward,” he says.

In doing so, we, as art students, understand our process of making art and therefore what makes us tick as artists. This is a lifelong pursuit, as an artists practice is an always evolving, dynamic and fluid process.

The Graduate Exhibition was officially opened on Friday, 8 November and will be open to the public from November 9 to 23 from 10am to 4pm at V Block, Lismore campus.

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