2016 - sarah winner
Sarah van der Schans with her winning art work.

2016 people' choice Samuel
People’s choice winner Samuel McNamara

2016 - second ahliya

Second place went to Ahliya Harris, pictured with competition organiser Angela Alexander.

2016 - staff award

2016 staff award winner by Jessica Treble.

An artwork that puts recovery from alcohol and other drug addictions into focus has won a major regional award.

Mercy Regional College student Sarah van der Schans’ `Finding Focus’ has won first prize in the annual WRAD Art in Schools competition, now on display at the Outlaw Gallery in Warrnambool.

The artwork was described by judges as an aesthetically striking piece that took a unique approach to the theme, ‘Optimism the key to recovery.’

Ms van der Schans said that in creating the artwork she tried to symbolise that even if stuck in the bottle, it is always possible to find a way out.

“The act of focusing on what is outside the bottle depicts optimism, which is the key to recovery from addictions,” she said.

“It is the first step to breaking out of the bottle and finding the path to a new beginning.”

Second prize was won by Ahliya Harris from Timboon P12 with, A Sanguine Life and third prize went to Brauer College’s Zhane Rodgers with Lotus.

Encouragement awards were presented to Kaiting Stott, Kings College; Jack Conlan, Brauer College; Dimity Moloney: Mercy Regional College; Charlotte Rose Cossens, Brauer College; and Samuel McNamara, Brauer College.

WRAD Staff choice Award was won by Jessica Treble of Timboon P12 for Contentment from Within.

Ms Treble said the picture presented the journey a girl has taken from being abandoned, where addiction was the only thing she knew, to where she was free from the dark past. Birds were depicted to symbolize eternal freedom.

People’s choice award was won by Samuel McNamara of Brauer College.
The competition attracted 31 entries from Brauer College, Emmanuel College, King’s College, Mercy Regional College, and Timboon P-12 School.

The theme encouraged young artists to highlight the positives of life and to consider the potential the future can hold despite past impacts of drug and alcohol addiction.

All entries will be exhibited till the end of August at the Outlaw Gallery at the Fletcher Jones complex

WRAD Improved Services Coordinator Angela Alexander said the WRAD Art in Schools competition has been held annually since 2012 and continued to prompt discussion among art teachers and students about the impact of drugs and alcohol in the community.

“WRAD remains committed to working with the community to promote good health on a number of levels,” Ms Alexander said.

“This year we had 31 diverse and striking works and we received positive feedback from teachers that once again the competition has provided a powerful and valuable opportunity for discussion and exploration of sensitive, complex and controversial topics,” she said.

“Students report they have benefited from the experience, gained insight and thoroughly enjoyed the process.”

Funding from Commonwealth Department of Health for project funding made the competition possible.