Canvassing the best in class as ARTEXPRESS comes home

A portrait of young students Brydi Ann Custance and Indy Leet standing in front of their artwork.
Brydi Ann Custance and Indy Leet. Image: And the trees photography.

Two young Coffs Harbour creatives are on the fast-track to fame, and there’s a wondrous serendipity to their emerging journey. 

Brydi Ann Custance and Indy Leet were students at Woolgoolga High and Coffs Harbour Christian Community School respectively last year – and their HSC works were chosen to be part of the prestigious ARTEXPRESS 2024 selection in Sydney. 

But the recognition didn’t end there as those same artworks will soon be on their way to Coffs Harbour where they’ll be put on show at the City of Coffs Harbour’s Yarrila Arts and Museum (YAM). 

“ARTEXPRESS ripples across the State – with curators from NSW galleries lobbying for what they’d like to display in their hometown. This selection method ensures every ARTEXPRESS exhibition is unique,” City of Coffs Harbour City Planning and Communities Director Chris Chapman said. 

YAM staff selected 20 bodies of work for its exhibition, including those of Brydi and Indy. 

“We were stoked to be able to include the artworks from local artists,” Mr Chapman said. 

The opportunity has also delighted the artists, who are studying through Southern Cross University to become high school art teachers. 

“I love making art and being able to have a creative outlet,” said Indy, whose collection of works, ‘eMotion sickness’, features pen and watercolour on paper and digital drawings.   

“Seeing the world through different perspectives and being able to express these views on paper make me feel the world is a colourful and exciting place.” 

Brydi’s artwork ‘Whispers of Wood and Kin’, explores family connections, relationships and memory. It is also an investigation of the relationship between nature and home. 

“I was so excited to be selected for ARTEXPRESS as were my teachers. I know how hard I worked and so did all the other students – and to get recognition for that made it all feel worth it,” she said. 

“My work highlights how the home acts as a pivotal element in fostering and sustaining family connections.” 

ARTEXPRESS is a partnership between the NSW Department of Education and NSW Education Standards Authority.   

The exhibition will open at YAM on 8 June and run through to 11 August. 

Find out more about ARTEXPRESS here.