The Archibull Prize 2010 Winners
Grand Champion Archibull
hurlstone Agricultural high School
The “Archibull” artwork created by the Hurlstone students consists of three main components.
The first of these is the two painted steers. One has been painted to represent sustainable agriculture, and this is done, along with other techniques, through the colour palette. The colours selected are mostly greens, blues and browns. These colours are commonly found in nature, particularly in a natural landscape, and as such they remind the viewer of such a place. The legs have been painted with root vegetables on a brown background, reminiscent of the ground below the surface of the landscape. A deeply blue sky lines the back of the steer while the body is composed of scenes from our own farm; green grass, trees and farmyard animals. These soft features naturally appeal to the viewer as they are evocative of a utopian landscape not unlike the plentiful Garden of Eden.
This is juxtaposed with the very rigid, very structured ‘house cow’. The sharp edges and dull palette suggest both structure and conformity. Even the sky is painted a dirty, dull blue to suggest the pollution that comes from so many people living in such close proximity to one another. As with the farm cow, the house cow has the underground painted onto the legs, however while the underground of the farm cow is highly organic, full of vegetables and sustenance, the house cow has a labyrinth of rigid drainpipes. This contributes to the overall impression of an unwelcoming, unyielding environment.
What links the steers together is the eyes, each steer is represented in the eyes of the other. The house cow sees what has been lost, and the farm cow sees what may be yet to come.
The second component of the artwork is the scales. The main message of the entire work is one of balance, as each of the steers represents an extreme. The farm cow, while beautiful, is not feasible as there is no room for humans to live and be a part of the idyllic landscape without disturbing it. The house cow is more easily recognisable as unsustainable as there is no greenery, no animals, no resources to provide for the multitude of people packed into the monotonous houses. The scales are a physical representation of this concept. To obtain harmony, balance must be found between these two extremes.
The third component of the artwork is the working hydroponics system. How better to demonstrate the effectiveness of a sustainable farming technique than to have it working in front of you. Live plants are grown in trays that connect the two steers as well as in the basin of water which lies beneath them. The importance of water management in Agriculture is also addressed. Recycling water is represented here as the water needed to grow the plants is reused through the system.
The entire artwork is particularly significant to the staff and students of Hurlstone as the concept of sustainable agriculture was a controversial one quite recently. The sale of the majority of the school’s farmland was first proposed in 2008 and was met by a storm of opposition within both the school and the local community. It is vital for students to be educated in agriculture; where their food comes from and how it is made, if sustainability is to be reached. This personal significance is demonstrated on the harnesses holding the steers. They have newspaper headlines about the sale of Hurlstone silk screen printed onto them. This is symbolic of the media’s role in sustainable agriculture. Only a small proportion of the population witnesses, let alone experiences, life on a farm firsthand, and the rest of us are left to rely upon the information presented to us by the media.
Education will lead to balance and balance to a harmonious and a sustainable future. Our sculpture successfully engages the audience and prompts them to evaluate their stance. This dialogue is essential to the future of farming.
best artwork prize
primary school Winner
RIDBC Alice Betteridge School
The students from two primary classes at RIDBC Alice Betteridge School worked as a team to create Landow the calf.
The students in these classes have significant vision and/or hearing impairments, mild to moderate intellectual impairments and some also have physical impairments. Due to the learning needs of the students, the work was a collaborative process with learning activities and artwork processes adjusted to accommodate the requirements of individuals.
The artwork considered the sensory needs of the students in the participating classes and was created using a variety of bright colours, textures and tactile objects to ensure that both the students with hearing impairments and those with vision impairments could access the artwork.
The unit of work written for this project was developed in line with key learning area topics appropriate for students in years kinder to six within the school setting. The themes 'Water for Life', 'Climate Ready' and 'Future Landscapes' were integrated into the key learning areas in 2010 and also into the artwork design. The art process incorporated all key learning areas from the years kinder to six syllabus.
The success of the program has led our school to expand its focus on agriculture and prompted the establishment of a vegetable garden as well as a program to raise three chickens and rabbits.
Artwork Award of Excellence
Muirfield High School
The project was painted by 22 Year 9 Visual design students as well as over 20 extra students in all years. Agriculture classes assisted with hands-on knowledge of our own small school farm and drama students created a documentary on the design and execution of the project.
The "Water for Life" bull was designed with a positive and a negative side as the students really wanted to show a positive future while recognising the dire consequences of inaction. The positive side shows a cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables flowing toward a commercial irrigation system in recognition of the importance of agricultural technology and research. Underpinning the irrigation is a scene of Warragamba dam in full overflow - something which has never happened in the life of the students!
The negative side of the bull is a scene modelled on a "Google Maps" type image where the suburbs are dry and barren; each with a post apocalyptic name reflecting lack of water, cuts of beef delineate the boundaries, and garden hoses separate the positive from the negative sides. Brass taps replaced the budding horns, partly to represent the importance of water but mostly because the students thought they looked really cool!
The "Future Landscapes" shows local food production and a clear supply chain from farm to store to family. The negative side shows the consequences of under production and importation of staple foods. Each student had a passionate opinion about the future of food production, the role of farming and the effects of international trade. In this bull the various student design groups chose many designs and repainted many times. The end result was a positive side featuring a kindergarten style farm - the students at around 15 years old were very concerned that this bull should be approachable by younger students - a supply chain that gently leads to the symbolic Woolworths truck which has no road to drive on as it's already at the table of the family enjoying dinner. The negative side shows massive aircraft and container ships bringing in food from other countries. The Australian map is tiny and on fire signifying the wasted potential of the nation if we were to continue as we have been for many years.
Riverstone High School
This Archibull Prize entry was completed by the Year 9 and 10 Agriculture students of Riverstone High School. Students decided to use images that symbolised issues they felt were important to the survival of our local agricultural industries.
Future Landscapes "Love It"
The decision was made to paint a farm landscape on the cow to identify a clean and healthy environment. The tree on the front leg represents plant life and how through photosynthesis carbon levels are reduced in the environment and replaced with oxygen. The lizard and cockatoo represent biodiversity. The blue skies show clean air and a range of renewable technologies are implemented on the farm ie. solar panels, water harvesting. The legs are painted with grains of wheat in bright rich colours representing healthy flourishing crops. The blue water represents clean and healthy waterways that can support aquatic ecosystems. The vegetable plot represents local food sources close to the consumer, have lower food miles and are cheaper. The head and tail are designed to look like a live cow.
Future Landscapes "Lose It"
The smog skull on the rump of the cow indicates increased pollution due to more cars being on the road due to an increased population. The power plant shows reliance upon fossil fuels and the pollution these non-renewable sources produce. The use of tree stumps and houses is to represent the destruction of natural habitats and farm land for residential areas. The rubbish pile represents excessive amounts of waste being produced by a large number of people. The T-bone represents the importation of food to our region from other areas due to farms being closed down. Food will have to travel further, won't be as fresh and will cost more. The dead fish represent water pollution. The head of the cow is painted like a skull to represent the death or loss of agriculture and farms in the area.
Norwest Christian College
The students of Norwest Christian College drew on imagery from science fiction, contemporary cities and their own imaginations to construct a world in which an industrial cityscape stretches on forever.
The 'Future Landscapes' calf depicts a possible future where urban development has continued for generations without consideration of the impact it has on farming and the environment. The only existing 'natural' environment is tiny plots of land that have been artificially manufactured to hover above the decaying city. Colourful smog shrouds the city and impacts the health and quality of life of its inhabitants. There is no room for farming as city buildings have taken over the land; fresh produce is rare and is imported from foreign lands. The reverse side of the calf depicts the detailed mechanics behind the city including cogs, springs and turbines. The 'mechanical bull' represents the artificial production of food products for the inhabitants of the crowded future city. The machinery is painted in silver and rusty bronze and the rear of the calf contains tiny historical exhibits of now-rare products such as T-bone steak, bananas and pears.
The students envisaged that the future landscape calf would both capture people's imaginations and also move them to value farming and plan for a healthy and sustainable future.
The second Norwest calf responds to the theme 'Water for Life'. One side reveals a vibrant, healthy and thriving environment that is supplied with plentiful water and the other side represents a parched and devastated land that is lacking in water. The year 7 student's brainstormed symbols that could be used to represent agriculture, life and death, health and sickness in order to clearly communicate to their audience the significance of water in our communities.
The entire project effectively facilitated peer-mentoring as year 7 and year 10 students worked together to paint the calves and enjoyed the experience and teamwork along the way.