Step in to the Limelight Visual Art Exhibition

Step in to the Limelight Visual Art Exhibition

The Step into the Limelight Visual Art Exhibition officially opens tomorrow night, 6pm Tuesday 5 August at the ANU School of Art Gallery. The Gungahlin College is really pleased to boast that it has a number of its Visual Art students contributing to this years show. One work that has attracted interest is Rhys Hulkkonen’s portrait of Vladimir Putin. Below is an excerpt out of Friday’s Canberra Times.


Vladimirs everywhere (as printed in the Canberra Times, 1 August 2014)
“Snap out of it, Ian. This has to stop!” I chided myself as, visiting the Step Into The Limelight exhibition of public school art at the ANU school of art I imagined I could see on one wall, a supernaturally huge portrait of Vladimir Putin.

It had to be a hallucination. Russia’s supremo has been made such a bogeyman by “our side” that one begins to imagine seeing him everywhere, finding his face in the froth on our coffees, seeing him shopping for vodka at Local Liquor, standing next to him at the urinal at CBR Brave matches.

And yet this time, at Step Into The Limelight, it turned out one’s mind was not playing tricks. Rhys Hulkkonen of Gungahlin College has created a gigantic black-and-white portrait of Putin. Our little reproduction of it here doesn’t do it justice. In a big and busy exhibition, it somehow dominates things. Its eyes follow you around.

Hulkkonen tells us he actually did the portrait, as a class assignment, many weeks ago, with no idea that Putin would be dominating our news now.

He tackled Putin because he is so striking and because many people find different personalities in the enigmatic man’s face, some seeing “a dictator”, some finding him “more laid-back”.

“And I made him so large-scale because he’s such a large political figure and so his portrait needs to be big. Making him small wouldn’t really work.”

Black and white seemed right, too, “and more his style” the artist said. The blackness was achieved with black ballpoint pens “and [given the size of the work] I got through a lot of them”.

Step Into The Limelight, with the work of more than 300 public school students, continues at the ANU School of Art until August 9.

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