9 February 2024

World in crisis: HSC artist Manny Kneeshaw combines passions for art and science

| Katrina Condie
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Student with sculpture

Manny Kneeshaw with his HSC Visual Arts major work which is on display at the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery. Photo: Supplied.

Emmanuel (Manny) Kneeshaw has combined his life-long love of art with his passion for the environment and the future of humanity, to sculpt an incredible self-portrait which features in the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery’s New Horizons exhibition.

“My work was inspired by my own preoccupation with the dismal state of our relations with the environment,” the Ulladulla High School 2023 HSC student said.

“There isn’t exactly a specific message, rather an invitation to reconsider how we view the world and the history and unfounded reasoning behind those beliefs.

“If anything, this artwork questions how we value humanity in the face of our progressive destruction of life.”

While his work is modelled on himself, Manny said it wasn’t a personal artwork, rather the bust was a “substitute for the human population”.

Manny’s piece is one of 25 works showcasing the exceptional talent of HSC Visual Arts students from the Shoalhaven region.

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Shoalhaven Council’s acting manager arts and culture Rahima Hayes said New Horizons represented a fantastic opportunity to witness the artistic vision and talent of local students.

“This exhibition not only celebrates their creativity but also highlights the diverse range of mediums and forms explored by these emerging artists,” she said.

Manny’s work is called ‘All of God’s children are never gonna die’ – a line taken from the Hunters and Collectors song When the River Runs Dry. However, he said it was officially titled ‘Anthropocentrism and the environmental crisis’ because “the soundscape aspect provided enough poetry for the work without a lyrical name”.

After being named on the HSC Distinguished Achievers list for both Visual Arts and Earth and Environmental Science, in which he placed second in the state, Manny is about to commence a science degree in Melbourne.

He said his studies were an attempt to further his interest in “our failings with how we view our world”.

“Specifically with the belief that humanity is separate and superior to the rest of a very large and complex planet,” he added.

“Though I’m pursuing a separate career, I hope to continue creating art, however a sculptural installation like this requires a lot of time and also studio space.

“This is the kind of work I’d like to recreate more professionally in the future especially considering my continued interest in the concept and continued relevance in our society.”

With a focus on ceramics, collection of works, documented forms, drawing, graphic design, painting, photomedia, printmaking, sculpture, textiles and fibre, and time-based forms, the New Horizons showcase will be on display from Saturday 10 February until Saturday 2 March at the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery in Nowra.

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Participating schools include Bomaderry High School, Kiama High School, Nowra Anglican College, Nowra High School, Nowra Christian School, Shoalhaven High School, Shoalhaven River College, St John the Evangelist Catholic High School, Ulladulla High School, and Vincentia High School.

Ms Hayes said this year’s works explored the themes of memories, sense of self and our world among others, and the exhibition was a testament to the vibrancy of the Shoalhaven region’s creative community.

“Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the next generation of artists pushing boundaries and exploring new artistic landscapes,” she added.

Located in Berry Street Nowra, the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery is open 10 am – 4 pm from Tuesday to Friday and 10 am – 2 pm on Saturdays.

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