GALLERY:'We deserve to be heard' teens find voices with art
TWO Kingaroy State High School students explored themes of self expression and identity when given the chance to share their artworks with the community.
More than 200 artworks created by Kingaroy State High School students have been displayed at the Kingaroy Regional Art Gallery.
Year 11 students Amber Fitz-Herbert and Noelana Rossow, who each have three artworks displayed, said for them this was an opportunity to have their voices heard by the community.
Amber's artworks focused on self expression and identity, while Noelana's explored her ideals and passions.
"Society tends to have a polarised view of teenagers as an entity because of the actions of a few,” Amber said.
"I feel that it's important not to generalise and to instead remember we're just doing our best as the younger generation who is going through the education system and coming forward to share our ideas and world views.
"I think we deserve to be heard and taken seriously, just like everyone else is.”
The girls agreed there had been a generational shift on what constituted vanity as opposed to caring for your well-being and health.
"We believe working on yourself and your identity is important and not selfish,” Noelana said.
"Self care seems to be seen by the older generations as selfish and arrogant behaviour.
"But we think that it's important to work on loving ourselves so we can then love each other.
"That's a message that I'd like for people to listen to and try to understand, instead of labelling us as self obsessed.”
The girls said their art was another way for them to express their feelings, thoughts, and world views.
In particular to open up about their mental health.
"It's been hard for us because we are so often dismissed because of our age,” Noelana said.
"It's like they all think 'Oh they're all depressed and anxious. Mental health is a younger person problem.'
"We've heard it all before.
"I think we are just more open with talking about our feelings and mental health. Because we want to be open and we want to create awareness and to get better.”
Amber said for a generation who has frequently been called out for their lack of connection, they have also been constantly chastised for wanting to connect and speak up.
"We just want to be open and connect with one another,” she said.
"Sharing our individual struggles is a way for us to connect and relate to each other. Doing so online just means we are able to reach a larger audience.
"For us it's come to the point where we have just stopped listening to any unwarranted criticism.
"It doesn't matter what we do, we can't win.”
Here are some snaps of students with their artworks: