Indooroopilly State High School student Aneldi Van Wyk won the Youth Award at the Somerset Bendigo Bank Art Awards at the weekend.
It was the Year 12 Visual Art student’s first time exhibiting her work, and she was overcome with emotion as she accepted the $500 prize for her self-portrait in charcoal.
“I couldn’t stop crying when I went on stage,” Aneldi said.
Her prize-winning self-portrait was born from a topic on identity in Year 11.
“I tried to bring in things that really represented me,” Aneldi said.
“At the time, I had this huge thing with unicorns because they really made me feel like I could do anything, like I was just as magical as them.
“I tried to bring up the childhood type joy that you often lack when you get older, especially later in high school.
“I tried to bring the identity that I have in my head of myself into artwork through self-portrait, wearing my unicorn onesie and a child-like smile.”
Creating art and working with horses are the things that spark joy in Aneldi.
“Just like my horses, art keeps me sane,” she said.
“It disconnects me from reality and just brings me into this world where I can do anything that I need to do or want to do. It gets me into that mindset where I’m calm again and I can be myself. I use my art and my horses to escape.”