This is Us, an exhibition by local youth in Devonport was on display the Little Gallery in the Devonport Regional Gallery from Friday 20 until Tuesday 24 March, after which we had to close our doors due to the pandemic.
In 2019 the Devonport Regional Gallery invited local young people to explore Australian cultural identity and its relationship to young people using imagery and text with the idea of creating an exhibition in the Gallery.
The resulting artworks – by some 100 local students from Devonport and Reece High Schools, Don College and Space for Learning – investigated personal symbolism and language to communicate self-identity and being Australian.
The young Artists utilised a range of media including lino prints, ceramics, drawing, painting, pyrography, sculpture, photography and animation to get their messages across.
This exhibition is both by young people and about young people.
Some of the artwork is a direct response to the theme of Australian identity, whilst other artworks are about what images represent the interests and self-identity of young people currently.
There are two things going on in this exhibition – ideas of what we imagine as cultural identity and the reality of being a young person today.
We have good reason to wonder how relevant traditional ideas of Aussie identity will hold in the future. Some of the artworks reveal that increasingly our contemporary self-identity tends towards more global interests such as brands of clothing and shoes (which we buy and wear to show aspects of our self-identity), and digital media such as the characters and worlds of games and animations.
There are some very insightful works in this exhibition.
Young people have some very important things to say. Have a listen.
The Gallery and Debbie Qadri would like to extend a very special thank you to Luke Viney, who developed the theme of this exhibition, Meg Lutwyche, Moene Sneyders, Tina Melbourne and Lisa Garland for their contributions, and the students for contributing to the cultural life of Devonport.
Photography: Kelly Slater