An evening with Bill Henson and FOAD at Carey

In 2019, our rich Art and Design community has begun operating beyond the day-to-day classroom, building agency among both our students and parents. The new Friends of Art and Design (FOAD) parent support group is an exciting part of this work. FOAD launched last Friday with a Q&A session with photographer Bill Henson. The evening, titled ‘In conversation with Bill Henson’ provided the framework for an insightful look into a uniquely aesthetic and contemplative perspective of our history, culture and society through the lens of Australia’s most informed art provocateur.

What makes Bill Henson one of Australia’s most formidable artists? By any measure, Henson is a major international talent. His first solo show was in 1975, at the National Gallery of Victoria, when he was just 19. In 2005, crowds flocked to his retrospective at the nation's major public galleries. Over a 43-year career, he's exhibited in New York, London and Paris, and has become conceptually and thematically famous for his darkly beautiful renderings of nudes, landscapes, crowds and ruins.

At this inaugural ‘In Conversation with’ evening, the audience was taken on a journey through the themes of the potency of adolescence, mortality, longing, beauty and love, as well as an insightful exploration of the crucial role artists play in the Australian dysphoria. The audience were brought together by a common understanding of the impact of a robust Art and Design curriculum in schools and why creativity and innovation should be at the core of a child’s developmental foundation.

A fascinating conversation ensued about Henson’s famous series ‘The Paris Opera’, which uses metaphor as an approach to capture the essence of Henson’s intent. The photographs and images invite the viewer to examine their own social or cultural identity, for this is never fixed or stable; it is always in a state of flux and wonder. This metaphor formed a basis for how art creates the space in an adolescent’s development for such introspection. Creating a space to question, think and take risks in idea development and the formation of creative and critical thinking processes is a core proposition in Art and Design education.

The FOAD parent support group will provide a forum for parents from across the Middle and Senior Schools with an interest in Art and Design and its flow on effect in the curriculum at Carey. Parents interested in joining the group should contact Mr Simon Carver – The Leader of Learning for Art and Design.

Simon Carver
Leader of Learning – Art and Design