Creative works by more than 20 Swinburne students have been selected for an online art exhibition celebrating work completed across Victoria in the 2020 lockdowns.
The exhibition, entitled Manifest, has been brought to life virtually utilising the Adobe Creative Suite and incorporates works across visual arts, photography, illustration and graphic design. Works were selected from students at 11 TAFEs across Victoria who teach in the media, arts and design fields and make up the MAD (mad!) network.
Larry Parkinson, coordinator of the Diploma of Visual Art at Swinburne and member of the mad! Executive Committee, says the event speaks to the creative resilience of his students.
‘This exhibition is really about celebrating the achievements of our students during a challenging time for the arts industry, and for many of our students and staff,’ he says.
‘The name “manifest” is all about that idea of making something great happen. It’s about imagining something, striving for it and bringing it into reality.’
Shouldered, Bundle and Boy - Ellen Giannikos, 2020
Making art in lockdown
Ellen Giannikos is one of the Swinburne students whose work was selected for Manifest. She says her exhibited works represent many of the creative approaches, techniques and inspirations she explored while studying the Diploma of Visual Arts.
Her three works span a variety of styles, including one that made use of Swinburne’s printmaking facilities and another showcasing a newfound love of acrylics. They are united by an exploration of humans’ relationship with nature.
“The works were inspired by traditional folklore and fairy tales, where animals often act as representatives to teach a moral lesson,” she says. “I was also really focused on natural textures and colours, which was something different for me.”
Courtney Koop, Real Meal Brand Identity and Happy Sprout Packaging, 2020
Courtney Koop, who studied an Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design, is exhibiting a design mark she created for a sustainability-focused meal kit company that embodies the natural and accessible nature of the product. Also on display is packaging she designed for a healthy lunchbox snack that can turn into a toy once kids have finished eating it.
Koop, who hopes to have her own design studio in the future, says the pandemic was a challenge but offered some useful lessons. ‘It taught me how to manage my time and work from home, which will be a valuable skill for me in this line of work,’ she said.
Giannikos says studying at Swinburne helped her get through 2020. ‘I was very lucky to have my studies. It gave me something to do every day and kept me focused on something I love.’
Both students are continuing creative careers and education. Koop is advancing her studies at Swinburne, undertaking a Bachelor of Design, majoring in Communication Design. Giannikos operates a studio with her partner, teaching art to adults and children with disabilities, as well as producing her own work.
Parkinson says that the artworks are a testament to the hard work and creativity of his students in a challenging year. “It was great to see the response from our students. The works really demonstrate the consistent effort, maturity and deep interest that they have in their chosen fields.”
Manifest can be viewed online until the end of September 2021.