Inspiring. Being inspired.

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Mona Hatoum Hot Spot III 2009 © Mona Hatoum Photo: Agostino Osio Courtesy Fondazione Querini Onlus, Venice

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Ai Weiwei, Safe Passage. An art installation by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei features refugees’ life vests wrapped around the pillars of Berlin’s Konzerthaus. Photo: Getty Images

Today is a really good day. Like a proper dork I’ve been spending the weekend putting together a new unit of work for my Year 11 Art class, titled Art-making and the Political: reacting to a world in conflict. 

This topic has brought me back to artist Mona Hatoum, whom changed my life in Art school. When I first saw Hatoum’s work (in a book, unfortunately) I was amazed at her selection of objects, clean aesthetic and intelligent creation of artworks. In the work pictured about ‘Hot Spot’ Hatoum created a giant world globe where countries glow, red hot – like the entire world is a target.

Of course I have to show students the work of Ai Weiwei, he was an easy choice as I have been following his ‘Safe Passage’ project this year on Instagram. His finger is on the pulse and he is saying something profound. Art celebrity or not, he speaks to the world.

And lastly I thought I’d add Peter Drew who has been campaigning away for the last year and a bit with the projects ‘Real Australians Say Welcome’ and ‘Aussie’. Another poignant artist who creates work through crowd-funding to send out this important message throughout his homeland, our country Australia, with leftover money going to charity. If you haven’t seen his work yet then do yourself a favour and go to http://www.peterdrewarts.com to find out what he has been up to.

Inspiring young minds (I know it sounds wanky, but it’s true) to think about not only their own political views and their stance as a universal citizen, but also to study the varying ways artists express their message and create artworks is what I’m all about.  From lights, lego, sunflower seeds, video, sounds, photography and printmaking (and heaps more) contemporary art practice is varied and powerful and every artist is able to a have a voice.

I hope my students get inspired by these great minds, maybe you will too. The great thing about teaching is that I am learning everyday as well. My mind is open. Let’s see what we can create.

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