27 October 2023

NPA student artists take QATSIF competition by storm

| Sarah Martin
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NPA artist Mary-Jane Namai receiving her QATSIF award from art teacher Dr Athene Currie.

Northern Peninsula Area State College’s talented student artists have blitzed the field with a raft of awards from a state-wide competition.

Eleven NPA senior students placed in the annual Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Foundation Creative Arts Competition, which is open to all First Nations high school students in the state.

Year 8 student Robert Poi Poi, whose detailed illustration won third place in the drawing category for his age, said his art was an important way to share his voice.

“I like my friends hearing me, and I like telling them about my drawings, especially four-wheel-drives and riding around country on my quad bike,” he said.

Northern Peninsula Area State College student Mary-Jane Namai’s colourful artwork won her second place in the QATSIF Creative Arts Competition.

Fellow Year 8 student Mary-Jane Namai’s colourful abstract piece reflected her strong interest in and connection with her culture and country, she said.

“I’m a proud Wuthathi teenager and my painting is about the colour I see in my world,” she said.

“I love my world, I love learning about my family tree – I like seeing how much family I have and how many ancestors come before me because the culture I’m from makes me feel strong.”

NPA classmates Antwone Wasiu, Yohanna Pablo, Esther Yoelu, Luceva Tamwoy, Riki Niudan and Robert Atu received highly commended awards, while Felton Namoi was second in Year 8 drawing, Phillip Woosup won first in Year 8 sculpture and Imasu Phair came third in Year 9 print art.

QATSIF secretariat director and former school principal Michael Nayler said there had been a record number of entries in the annual competition.

“We had a record 189 entries, which is almost double from last year,” Mr Nayler said.

“We want to encourage cultural pride in school kids across Queensland and it’s open to every school in Queensland.”

The competition is advertised through schools and runs during the first two school terms each year.

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