Art means many things to many people. For Cody Adams, it is a way to tell a story that might not otherwise be told.
And he does it all through a camera lens.
The talented former Newcastle High student used photographs and film in his Higher School Certificate major work last year to tell the story of a family living on a remote farm at Mendooran, west of Dubbo. In the stark, unforgiving and often beautiful visual feast that is The Shearing Is Now Over, Adams was able to capture the family’s connection to a landscape that is not only a source of income, but also their home.
He told the family’s story so well, in fact, that his work was chosen to be exhibited in the ARTEXPRESS 2017 regional exhibition. The Shearing Is Now Over is on display at Moree Plains Gallery until May 28, and then at Goulburn Regional Gallery from July 14 to August 2.
It is the 18-year-old’s first exhibition.
“I feel extremely privileged being selected. The quality of work chosen each year is of an unbelievably high standard and to be part of that is an honour,” Adams tells Weekender.
“My artwork is a photography series accompanied by a short film. The theme was to portray the cultural identity of a working farmer and his family and to show the toughness and resilience needed to work in the Australian outback.
“I was fortunate enough to have an aunty and uncle who operate a large station in remote rural NSW, so they were the perfect subjects for me to document. They gave me complete freedom to follow their daily routine over many days and weeks at different times during the year and I think this is what gave my work such depth and character.
“Art is a way for me to tell a story. Through my photographs and films I try to capture a particular story of the subject or landscape in order for the audience to connect with my work on a deeper level.”
The young artist’s talent was nurtured by his teachers “and mentors”, Jody Robinson and Rory Davis.
“Jody’s guidance throughout the whole process was unbelievable. I came back from my trip with 3000 images to go through and without Jody I would still be stuck deciding which images to use.”
Newcastle High’s class of 2016 produced some outstanding artistic talent. In addition to Adams, his classmate – and best mate – Max Galbraith’s work is being exhibited at The Art Gallery of NSW. And Lucy Maher and Jordyn Leschinkohl had their artworks selected for Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery’s recent First Class exhibition.
Alongside Galbraith, former St Philip’s Christian College student Chloe Rebellato and Alex McVey, formerly of Warners Bay High School, were three of only 38 students in the state to have their major works exhibited at The Art Gallery of NSW.
The future looks bright for Adams. He has started a Bachelor of Communications degree majoring in media production at Newcastle University and films when he can.
“I am happy providing a mix of paid and free community work and services to gain experience and promote my career,” he explains.
“I am currently making a 10-minute documentary for Newcastle High School, which is an exciting experience for me.
“My dream career is to be a wildlife documentary filmmaker travelling the globe and exploring this magical world of ours. To film for documentaries such as a David Attenborough series would be a life goal of mine.”