The Archibull Prize connects school students with the people and the places behind the food we eat and the natural fibres we use. Since its inception over 300,000 students have been engaged in courageous conversations about how farmers and the community can work together to create a world with zero hunger and zero waste.
Five Young Farming Champions with support from Australian Wool Innovation partnered with 10 schools studying wool industry in The Archibull Prize and showed that issues such as drought, climate change and mental health are prominent in student minds. Let’s meet the first five Archies from our wool schools.
In an imaginative and interactive expression of the wool industry Merrylands High School highlighted mental health on their Archie.
“Our Archibull sculpture explores the importance of mental health support networks for Australian farmers and the ripple effect that climate change, bio-security, employment and healthy communities bring to Australian farmers that increases their mental health diagnosis and suicide rates.”
In a nod to the ironic, students have painted sheep jumping over fences as a renowned method of relaxation, pointing out that for wool farmers this is not necessarily a break from work. They have also included a replica brain scan on their Archie’s back to show that mental health is not always visible.
“Outlining the brain scan is a dotted line of light projecting from within the cow. The light pulsates blue and white in an irregular sequence which symbolises the lights in medical practices when undergoing Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans – a form of neuroimaging. The audience unconsciously alter their breathing rhythm as a physical response to the lights. This reaction draws a link to breathing as a form of meditation, a technique for resting the mind and promoting a positive wellbeing.”
From farming to fashion was the theme for Sean the Cow from Crestwood High School, who illustrated the wool supply chain from paddock to processing to garments.
With guidance from YFC Katherine Bain students charted their own learnings about the wool industry on Sean, and the effects of climate change on farming. As their knowledge progressed so did their Archie until it ended up with a manufacturing sculpture inserted into its belly.
“Sean the Cow is unique because it can be used as a visual resource to educate others on the wool industry in Australia. We explored the main components that make up the industry and applied our individual strengths to portray these on the different sections of the cow. Some of us were knitters and made accessories for Sean to wear, some are painters and represented different components of the wool industry through images. Others explored sculpture and created an intricate sculpture representing the manufacturing process for inside the cow; and others used different materials to create texture and design.”
Greystanes High School enlisted the help of YFC Lucy Collingridge to guide them through their wool journey and they came up with an Archie divided in two.
“On one side we focused on the land or the farm and tried to show the effects of climate change. On the other side of our cow we wanted to tell the story of wool products and celebrate it being one of the most common fibres. We wanted this side of the sculpture to be filled with wool”.
The Greystanes students obviously enjoyed making their eye-catching and brightly coloured Archie using wool and really encapsulated the 2019 Archibull theme.
“Throughout this wonderful experience we have enhanced our creative skills and ideas, learnt about the wool industry and much more from our Young Farming Champion Lucy Collingridge and become closer as a team by working together on our unique Archibull. Our Archibull demonstrates that feeding, clothing and powering a hungry nation is a shared responsibility and that everyone should do their part to help each other.”
Over at the Manly Selective Campus of Northern Beaches Secondary College students participated in the 2019 Archibull as part of an extra-curricular enrichment program. Volunteering their time they created Moorino to help everyday Australians learn how to support the Australian wool industry and to show the connection between community and industry.
“This connection is clearly portrayed through the centrepiece of our artwork, the loom, with all the strands of wool coming together to symbolise collaboration and connection throughout Australia.”
Moorino illustrates many aspects of the wool industry including drought, water usage, carbon footprint, farming charities, the Australian Made logo, woollen garments and a custom made wool stamp from YFC Sam Wan. Students also incorporated their recent actions of striking from school in climate change protests.
“Human footprints walk alongside sheep prints the same way Australia’s community and farming industry must work together to maintain a healthy community. Though there is a contrast between the dark grey and light green, the gradient between them shows that change will not be immediate and our community must take the time to become sustainable.”
Keeping with the climate change theme Burwood Girls High School took a dark and foreboding look at the future with their creation of Apocalypse Cow.
“Our Archie is unique because it is a direct call to action to address the climate emergency that our planet is currently facing. This is a threat that will only continue to progress unless action is taken straightaway. Our Archie is unique because it is not aiming to be polite or gentle about the issue.”
Drawing on the words of climate campaigner Greta Thunberg the head of Apocalypse Cow is vibrant blue representing health and the colours used gradually morph into darker shades representing an uncertain future. Bright pom poms scattered about represent hope. All over the cow are climate change messages.
“Multi layered materials covering the Archie’s eyes symbolise the aimlessness and blindness a large population of the world holds in regards to the climate emergency. Finally, our Archie is adorned with a vibrant crown consisting of woollen pom poms as well as an array of native Australian flora. This aims to offer a glimmer of hope. We as a species can still hold onto the beauty of our world, we just need to embraces new changes.”
Mega shoutout to our supporting partners as you can see all the schools and students involved in 2019 Archibull Prize experience found it an invaluable learning tool on so many levels