An artwork by a Warrnambool College student depicting a young person’s struggle with drugs has won a major regional art competition.`Monster in their Midst’ by Year 11 student Felicity Tyler was judged as the best of nearly 40 entries in the Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre’s Art in Schools competition for Drug Action Week.

Second place was awarded to Catherine Maine of Warrnambool College with `Torn’ and third place to Brauer College student Eden Cochavi’s `Tattooed Eyes’. The audience choice and WRAD staff awards were both won by Alex Jones of Brauer College with `A Living Death’. The competition was judged by Warrnambool artist Gareth Colliton, Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay and WRAD board member Glenys Phillpot. Students shared in prizes worth more than $1000.

Mr Colliton said the competition had prompted many confronting pieces of art.“They communicate the impact of drugs on families and the community and show very strong artistic practice,” he said. “It was a very difficult choice for the judges because there were so many good pieces that deserved prizes,” Mr Colliton added.

The winning entry, which received a $500 first prize, was done in fine liner and permanent texta. Felicity said it depicted the all-encompassing nature of drugs on the subject’s life and the disconnection she feels from her community.`A Living Death’ by Alex Jones was drawn using graphite pencils and depicts a zombie-like human face deteriorated and distorted through drug abuse. Alex said it represented the physical and emotional torment experienced through drug abuse.

WRAD Improved Services Co-ordinator, Angela Alexander, said the competition had prompted a lot of thought and discussion among students about drugs and their impact on the community.

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Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay with art competition winners

The winners were announced on June 21 during Drug Action Week at the ArtLink building in Koroit Street, Warrnambool where the art works are on display. Encouragement awards were presented to Ashlee Hards, Lauren Morgan, Brittany Holmes, Ahliya Harris, Bailey Neave and Alex Jones. Students from Brauer College, Warrnambool College, Mercy Regional College, Camperdown College, Timboon P-12 School, and Mortlake College submitted entries.

The competition theme was adapted from the Drug Action Week theme of “Drugs, Communities & Families!” that aims to make more Australians awareness of potential problems from drug abuse.

The competition was sponsored by the Department of Health Barwon South West region.