Students Shine at 47th Melville Art Awards

The 47th annual Melville Art Awards exhibition commenced on Friday 20 October with the Awards Ceremony at Wireless Hill Museum. The exhibition showcases artworks by established and emerging West Australian artists, including local talent living in the City of Melville. Two of our Year 12 students, Sianay Doutch and Leilani Harris, were recognised.

Sianay received the Melville Youth Award, which saw her receive a prize of $1000.

Leilani received Highly Commended in the same category and received $500.

Here are the girls’ artist statements, providing a glimpse into their creativity and the stories they tell through their work.


‘Traversing’ is an artwork that serves as a visual conversation highlighting the contrasts and connections between the natural and the man-made world, and these two seemingly disparate realms. My artwork explores the intriguing dialogue between the energy of a rainy city street and the serene beauty of nature.

The brush stroke of nature across the centre composition of the canvas, is almost like a time capsule to portray the evolution and development of the current world and how much the environment has changed.

The painting explores the emotional resonance of this dichotomy. The city street evokes a range of emotions, from the excitement of opportunity to the weight of responsibility.

In contrast, nature offers solace, a sanctuary where we can find tranquillity and reconnect with our essential humanity.

Through a carefully curated colour palette, I’ve infused the city street with mostly dark toned colours, with vibrant hues present in the city street lights and their reflections. These colours draw the eye, symbolising the constant movement and vitality of the city.

In contrast, the natural elements are depicted with more subtle, earthy tones, conveying a sense of calm and timelessness. Through vibrant colours, delicate brushstrokes, and immersive compositions, I seek to transport viewers into a world where they can reconnect with the natural world, and I aim to capture the awe-inspiring beauty and intricate harmony of nature.

My artwork serves as a reminder to cherish and protect the natural world, urging viewers to embrace their role as stewards of the environment. 

By placing these elements side by side, I aim to prompt viewers to reflect on their own relationship with the urban environment and the natural world.


My artistic exploration delves into the web of fractured memories that surround the Vietnam War, creating a visual narrative that mirrors the fragmented recollections of individuals and societies impacted by this pivotal moment in history. My artwork specifically focusing on the impact on the soldiers themselves, these images were taken of my grandfather while there.

I am striving to expose the audience to the poignant complexities of the history and memory of the Vietnam War. The photos used of my Pop from the war are in situations that would otherwise seem normal (laying back, shaving, relaxing). This artwork serves as a visual testament to the enduring power of art to capture the human experience amidst the chaos of conflict as well as a tribute to those who fought within the war. When creating the piece, I wanted to ensure that I captured my Pop’s attributes and the dynamic nature of the background. A significant stage within this process was creating the folds and fabric texture of the background, limiting myself to few colours to illustrate such a complex section. Through the interplay of textures, colours, and symbolic elements in my work, I aim to capture the dissonance and multifaceted nature of these memories.

Just as time and distance have caused the events to fracture into various perspectives and interpretations, my artistic process involves layering and deconstructing each image into a ‘photograph of the past’, inviting viewers to confront the intricate complexity of remembering and forgetting. By embracing the inherent gaps and uncertainties in these narratives, I seek to convey the profound influence of collective memory on our perceptions of the past and our understanding of the present.

The exhibition runs from 22 October to 12 November, at Wireless Hill Museum from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm daily (closed on Mondays).

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