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Project Inertia Workshop

Last Friday our Year 9 Visual Arts and Photography and Digital Media students attended a fantastic all-day immersive workshop with Australian contemporary artist, Janet Tavener.

Janet Tavener is a Sydney-based artist and educator, who works with both photography and sculpture. In her large-scale digital photographs, she explores a diversity of environmental themes such as floods, fires and cyclones and their impact on Australia’s food production industry. Head of Visual Arts, Photography and Digital Media, Ms Michele Brennan said, "In her work, Janet represents the unpredictability and fragile nature of Australia’s environment through her repeated use of water – in both a frozen and liquid state – producing a unique intersection between art and science. She captures stilted moments of inertia with her camera in a symbolic attempt to arrest the marching process of movement and time. Through her art, Janet highlights the temporality of life and the precarious state of our natural world as the realities of global warming become more apparent." 

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Last Friday, Janet came to Wenona to run Project Inertia, an immersive workshop that explored different ways of arresting time in an ‘Art meets Science’ conceptual collaboration. She started by carefully explaining some of the photographic techniques she uses in her work to the students. They were fascinated to learn how she shoots through water, oil and light.

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The students then had an opportunity to experiment with an array of photographic techniques themselves, including working with light and reflection.

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Tilly in Year 9 said, “It’s one thing to just research an artist, but it’s a completely different experience to see and hear first-hand about her art, her history and herself. For me, it was a much easier and more engaging way to learn.”

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Claudia said, “It was great to see how a successful and established artist has progressed and developed her style over time.”

Amelia said, “I found it invaluable that we were given the freedom to take complete control over the subject matter of our photographs.”

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Amelie said, “It was good to see how, as a student of art, we could continue this after school into the future. I also liked that we got to set up our own artworks and use our own ideas. The guidance on how to use the cameras followed by the freedom to experiment with the photography part of the workshop really suited my learning style.”

Project Inertia was a fantastic opportunity for our Year 9 students to learn first-hand from a successful artist. It gave them fresh insight and inspiration, new ideas and techniques. And it helped them to understand how Janet had refined her practice over many years to develop her own individual style that combines technical mastery with philosophical rigour and aesthetic grace.

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Year 9 will be developing their own artworks over the next week and we look forward to sharing them with you soon. In the meantime, if you ever venture onto campus, be sure to check out Janet Tavener’s stunning artworks that take pride of place in our Science Labs in The Athenaeum.