High school learners grab an opportunity to showcase their art work at an exhibition held at the University of Johannesburg

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) in association with the Johannesburg Junior Council (JJC) hosted its 12th Gauteng Schools Art & Design Awards Exhibition on Wednesday, September 18.

The exhibition held at the UJ Faculty of Art, Design, and Architecture (FADA) gallery showcased a variety of art pieces produced by high school pupils across Johannesburg.

Director of the FADA Gallery, Hön Eugene who also facilitated and hosted the award exhibition, told Wits Vuvuzela the awards exhibition aimed to open up conversations for high school students to express how they feel, through the creation of art.

“This dialogue, then laid the foundation of the exhibition. The JJC and I felt that the exhibition was initially too elitist, and that is why we decided to open it up and involve other schools in Johannesburg”, said Eugene

Each student was given a different theme to create their artwork at their respective schools. As a result, the art work exhibited highlighted a variety of art techniques ranging from oil paintings, art sculptures, pencil drawn portraits and many more.

A few art pieces on exhibition at the FADA Gallery, created by high school learners. Photo: Tumelo Modiba

JJC is a youth initiative that unites students from various schools, primarily in Johannesburg who participate in charity work all over the city.

“Being in the JJC has been one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. Having a lot of independence and being able to do something where you see actual change taking place has been a wonderful experience”, said Rhys Hunink, the mayor of the JJC.

Matthew Patience, chairperson of the JJC who welcomed guests to the exhibition said, “It gives me such great pleasure to be here tonight, because we come from a place that is so culturally diverse and you see art every day.”

“I think it’s amazing that JJC got the opportunity to work with the exhibition and to embrace high school artists”, said the Parktown Boys’ High School student.

This year’s winners were three students from Roedean School, Helpmekaar Kollege and National School of Arts who won gold, silver and bronze respectively.

Carys Sutherland, who created a pen drawing titled “(City of) Parallel Lines” and won the gold.

“I was inspired by the city and the concept of how we live in a city with so many people who travel on their separate journeys and I was curious what happens when we intercept those journeys” said the 18-year-old.

The Roedean student’s artwork highlighted different portraits of strangers she had met across the city of Johannesburg with quotes surrounding the individual portraits.

Artist, Carys Sutherlands stands next to her artwork. Photo: Tumelo Modiba.


Sutherland’s mother, Kerrigan MacCarthy beamed with joy for Cary’s award.

“She was very talented from a young age. It is lovely for her to be recognised, it is a fantastic thing,” said her mother.

Morgan Davidson won silver, and was given the theme “something out of the ordinary” and was inspired by her grandmother to create the art installation exhibited.

The Helpmekaar student told Wits Vuvuzela her grandmother suffers from depression, and “people with depression are often seen as outsiders”.

Morgan Davidson, a highschool student stands proudly next to her art installation. Photo: Tumelo Modiba.

“At first I did not know what to create, but then I decided to use wine to create my art piece. Like wine, depression takes time to get to where it needs to be and wine does that as well,” said Davidson.

Her art teacher, Rika La Grange worked closely with the student while she created the art installation, and also attended the award exhibition.

“She is a brilliant art student, I just helped her with some technical aspects. It was a very enjoyable process. I think she worked through a lot of issue creating this art piece”, added la Grange.

Award winners were given cash prizes to go towards funding for their art supplies sponsored by Herbert Evans.

The exhibition will run until Friday, October 11, 2019 at the UJ FADA Gallery.

FEATURED IMAGE: (Left to right): Morgan Heystek, Rhys Hunink, and Matthew Patience members of the Johannesburg Junior Council. Photo: Tumelo Modiba.