Top Arts 2019 celebrates 25 years at NGV

San Shun Fei, Visitor. Photo by zhixian Lyu
Top Arts 2019 Photo: Zhixian Lyu

The best art by Victoria’s high school students is on show at the 25th annual Top Arts exhibition in Melbourne from March 22 until 14 July. Forty-six young artists express their thinking on contemporary society and imagination in 40 works that are on show at the Ian Potter Centre. 

Top Arts 2019 at Ian Potter Centre. Photo by Zhixian Lyu

Top Arts 2019 is a part of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), and offers high school students an opportunity to show their technical skill and innovation. These works are about fashion, painting, sculpture, installation, and video art.

Top Arts 2019. Photo by Zhixian Lyu

National Gallery of Victoria worker Phoebe said about 200 students in school groups have been visiting the exhibition every day.

“It is a junction with the Victorian Education Curriculum. There are 10 school group visit the Top Arts 2019 per day, each group averages 20 students,” Phoebe said.

Brilliant pieces featured in the Top Arts 2019. Photo: Zhixian Lyu

These young artists use their rich imagination to present works. Some of the pieces featured in the Top Arts 2019 include Ana Livia Maiorino’s Untitled # 1, Lien Zhang’s Liminal, Cleopatra Kopanidis’s Classic Mia and Maia Braden’s Secrecy.

Ana Livia Maiorino’s Untitled # 1. Photo supplied by Ana Livia Maiorino


Untitled # 1, 2018
From the Oblivion series
Oil pastels, watercolour, fibre-tipped pen, synthetic gold leaf on canvas
110.5 x 152.5 cm
Haileybury Girls College, Berwick

The oil painting was worked by Ana when she was 18-year-old, and she decided to focus the work on evoking confusion for the audiences through the patterned aesthetic. “There are many little things that contributed to the overall inspiration for Untitled #1. These varied from Del Kathryn Barton’s exhibition ‘the highway is a disco’ at NGV, to Yayoi Kusama’s delicate and precise use of patterns and dots. I think this had a big impact on my choice,” she said.

 “The small dots on my canvas were so time-consuming I actually spent the majority of the time just doing those, but it was all worth it,” she said.

Lien Zhang’s Liminal. Photo: Supplied by Top Arts 2019

Lien Zheng

Liminal, 2018
oil on composition board
60.0 x 90.0 cm
Korowa Anglican Girls’ School, Glen Iris

This painting was created by a young Chinese Australian artist. When Lien was a child, she immigrated to Australia with her parents, which had a great impact on her growth experience. “The work is inspired by my father’s immigration story. He took me to the house where he lived for the first evening after landing in Melbourne, which spurred me to consider the sacrifices and drastic changes he made, and his journey had begun in the building right in front of me.”

The painting style of Lien is influenced by many artists, so she was created a twilight or sunsets atmosphere for her work. “I used the traditional technique of oil paint on a Masonite board, using thin glazes paired blended together to achieve soft gradients and a moody, atmospheric quality that was inspired by twilight or sunsets. My style is deeply influenced by artists such as Rick Amor, Edward Hopper and Clarice Beckett. After studying these artists in depth, I established an aesthetic that evoked a sense of mystery and melancholy while retaining realism.”

Sam Soon Lee, Visitor. Photo: Zhixian Lyu

Maia Braden

Secrecy, 2018
inkjet print
123.0 x 80.8 cm
Methodist Ladies’ College, Kew

Sam Soon, a 22-year-old student from Doncaster visiting the Top Arts 2019 exhibition said she liked Maia’s work. “These paintings are colourful with fluent lines so that I was easily attracted. The feelings of them are bright and happy, which are suitable for young people. Secrecy print is my favourite work. There are two men wearing rabbit and pigeon masks. It was shot at an outside place like a forest, which reminds me of thinking about the natural and peaceful life,” she said.



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Hi, welcome to vina Dscribe. A Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) student at Deakin University. My Chinese name is Zhixian Lyu and my preferred name is Vina Lyu. I had an international news internship in Hong Kong. 4 years ago, I decided to study in Australia becasue I want to be an international journalist. I am committed to reporting China and Australia News. I am committed to making a good relationship between China and Australia through news dissemination. I strive to write high-quality news and show interesting interviews.


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