VISUAL SPLENDOUR: Southern Cross art and design students showing their final works in the annual graduation exhibition, a culmination of three years of study.
VISUAL SPLENDOUR: Southern Cross art and design students showing their final works in the annual graduation exhibition, a culmination of three years of study. Jasmine Burke

Students dive deep with powerful themes for art exhibition

THERE'S more than meets the eye to Southern Cross University art student Paulette Hayes' work.

At first glance you're looking at many delicate, colourful and prettily decorated houses, but upon closer inspection, the intricate decorations tell a powerful story.

Picket fences made of knives, axes, ice pipes and needles hanging from trees, and gentler themes including cutouts of children all allude to the domestic violence crisis in Australia.

Remembering our Sisters is the result of years of experience, thought and art-making about women.

Childbirth, grief, the 'male gaze', identity and aging have all been explored, culminating in this body of work which honours women who were murdered in Australia in 2013.

Using data from Counting Dead Women, a group that records and publishes every female death nationally, and the mediums of paper and scrapbooking, concrete and steel, this work invites the viewer to say what cannot be said and to bring light to heal the wounds of what has been kept secret.

Ms Hayes said her original intent was to create a memorial for the women of Australia who were murdered in 2013.

"Not all women were murdered by partners but the majority were,” she said.

"I've had an epiphany about the treatment of women and it's more than just abuse, it's about controlling and killing.”

Ms Hayes work is part of a larger exhibition where 17 SCU art and design students will show their final works in the annual graduation exhibition, a culmination of three years of study.

Some other themes and concepts include rising sea levels, ecological issues, human emotion and anxiety, and domestication.

Head of Art and Design at SCU, Stephen Garrett, said this year the spaces have been really opened up for the students to be able to take a more ambitious work, in terms of installation.

"The students have been given that sense in being able to take ownership of the room and treat it like a professional gallery in terms of a full museum hang,” he said.

"In third year the students really work on their own projects in terms of the things that interest them both materially, conceptually and emotionally in terms of really them coming to terms with their process as an artist.

"Often students often start the year knowing what they're doing for the grad show and by the middle of the year that's completely changed and almost by grad show it's changed again.”

Southern Cross University Graduate Exhibition 2019 on November 8 from 5-8pm. The exhibition is open to the public Monday to Saturday 10am-4pm from November 9-23.