Art awards shine light on emerging talent in students

St John of God Health Care has announced the winners of its annual visual and performing arts scholarships with four West Australian school students recognised for their excellence in the arts.

29 Sep 2021

Natalie Loach from Santa Maria College and Rani Bonney from St Vincent’s School were the winners of the visual art scholarships, while the performing arts scholarships were awarded to Leonardo Farmer from Whitford Catholic Primary School and Mary Gough from John Paul College in Kalgoorlie.

The scholarships are a unique partnership between the health care provider and Catholic Education Western Australia that aim to support students to continue their participation in the arts.

St John of God Health Care Group Manager Allied Health Rachel Resuggan, who assisted in judging the performing arts scholarship, said the calibre of work submitted by students was exceptional, demonstrating the talent among the next generation.

“The scholarships not only reward students’ hard work, they encourage students to further their artistic endeavours, supporting them to attend classes or purchase equipment and supplies,” Rachel said.

“It is important to support these talents to ensure the next generation of artists are nurtured.”

For Whitford Catholic Primary School year six student and break dancer Leonardo Farmer (below), winning the performing arts scholarship will allow him to continue pursuing his dreams, with the goal of competing in the Summer Olympic Games for breakdancing, a sport that will be introduced to the Olympics from 2024. Leonardo Farmer - St John of God Health Care and Catholic Education Western Australia performing arts scholarship

“Knowing St John of God Health Care has been able to celebrate Leonardo’s talents and offer him the gift of hope for his future is very special,” Rachel said.

Whitford Catholic Primary School Dance Coordinator Candice D’Adamo nominated Leonardo for the scholarship and said she was proud of his accomplishment.

"Leonardo is a very talented and dedicated hip-hop and break dancer and has developed a real admiration and love for the art as well as improving his skills,” Candice said.  

“This scholarship will allow Leonardo to continue dancing, having an artistic outlet and being involved in a supportive and motivating community. It is something that will really assist him with his purpose, motivation and direction moving forward in life."

Santa Maria College Visual Art Teacher Asha Ciotti said year 11 student, Natalie Loach (below) was a very deserving recipient of the St John of God Health Care Visual Art Scholarship.Natalie Loach - St John of God Health Care and Catholic Education Western Australia visual art scholarship

“Natalie is a passionate visual art student who has developed her skills over the last four years, that has resulted in her refined and realistic oil painting technique,” Asha said.

“Natalie’s love of renaissance art has enabled her to take traditional compositional devices and subject matter to convey contemporary themes relevant to her and her peers.

“Natalie spends many hours honing her skills to result in the fantastic work she produces.”

Trombone player and year 10 student Mary Gough (below) from Kalgoorlie was nominated by her teacher and John Paul College Director of Music Graham Green. Mary Gough - St John of God Health Care and Catholic Education Western Australia performing arts scholarship

“Mary took up learning how to play the trombone three years ago when she commenced at the College. It hasn’t always been easy for her but she has always tried her best and never wavered in her belief to play music,” Graham said.

For Mary, the performing arts scholarship will enable her to continue her music education. 

“I really enjoy playing the trombone and being a member of the concert and jazz bands. Music enriches my life in the Goldfields and I am very happy to win this scholarship,” she said.

St Vincent’s School year six student Rani Bonney (artwork below) will use her visual art scholarship to purchase watercolours and art supplies.Rani Bonney - St John of God Health Care and Catholic Education Western Australia visual art scholarship

St John of God Health Care Art Curator Connie Petrillo, who was one of the judges of the visual art scholarship, said the scholarships align with the organisation’s Catholic values and strong focus on the arts.

“The arts have an important role in the provision of holistic health care; in a hospital setting they provide uplifting emotional and intellectual stimulation and support for patients and their carers during the process of recovery,” Connie said.

“Art helps to create an atmosphere conducive to the healing process.

“With hospitals in both Perth and regional WA, we are proud to extend the scholarship to these areas and ensure we are giving back the communities we work in.”

Natalie and Rani’s artwork is on display at St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital until 11 October 2021.

The visual and performing arts scholarships are part of St John of God Health Care’s arts and health program, with the organisation also a proud long-term supporter of Australia's most significant thematic Christian art prize, the Mandorla Art Award.

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