Emerging artists have fingers on the pulse

Photo: Rift Photography. Artwork - Annika Carleton you're so vanitas 2023. Gloss varnish, powdered pigment, sequin and oil on canvas, 76 x 101 cm. Perth Modern School.
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Young artists have their thought-provoking, expressive and creative pieces on display at one of Australia’s most recognised art galleries.

The West Australian Pulse is an annual exhibition at the Art Gallery of Western Australia that celebrates the talents of the state’s Year 12 visual arts graduates.

Now in its 32nd year, the showcase offers insight to the ‘pulse’ of young people who will influence, empower, and shape the world we live in.

Sixty works by students who graduated in 2023 were on display in this year’s exhibition – running until 6 October 2024 – providing a window into young people’s private, social, and artistic concerns.

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Themes explored in the artworks included mental health and social pressures, gender and culture, environmentalism, and technology.

The works were selected by a judging panel, which included Department of Education principal consultant for visual arts Lisa Bowden, Art Gallery of Western Australia associate curator of contemporary art Bahar Sayed, and artist Yabini Kickett.

Art informed by culture

Among those who have their work displayed is Perth Modern School graduate and Yawuru woman Millani Booth who painted her older sister Joliette.

Ms Booth says her piece, entitled In the trees, she will live eternally, celebrates Aboriginal history, her sister, and her own passions.

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“All I’ve learnt about Australian and Indigenous history, and the environment, has come from my family so it’s something I really want to express in my art,” she says.

Willetton Senior High School graduate Hannah Raphael also took inspiration from her family for her painting, Mother’s Garden, and felt proud to have her work featured in the showcase.

“They (my mother and grandmother) have always been a really important part of my life, I’ve always had that strong maternal connection with them,” Ms Booth says.

“It’s amazing as this really feels like you’re being appreciated, and your culture is being celebrated. I love that I’m able to share it with other people.”

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