Marie Gibson's polka dot portrait a fitting tribute to her work

Master stroke: Marie Gibson's portrait by Jannali East Public School 3H students hangs in the Not Just a Brush exhibition at Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery. Picture John Veage
Master stroke: Marie Gibson's portrait by Jannali East Public School 3H students hangs in the Not Just a Brush exhibition at Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery. Picture John Veage

Marie Gibson is an art teacher who has inspired generations of children in many classrooms since her first teaching job at South Hurstville Public School in 1973.

It is only fitting that a portrait of Mrs Gibson, who has recently inspired the year 3 class from Jannali East Public School, is part of the current exhibition at Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery – Not just a Brush, Check Out the Masters.

Marie's commitment to the creative and performing arts is shown by her involvement in programs to support students and teachers to develop skills in visual  arts through Department of Education programs such as Not Just a Brush, CREATE, White Ribbon Art Exhibition and Koori Art Expressions .

The Jannali 3H class digital artwork of Marie, Infinite Polka Dots was inspired by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama after students watched a series of short films about her life and works on a website called The Kids Should See This.

Polka dots are found in many of her works and Kusama wrote: "Our Earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos. Polka dots are a way to infinity."

Marie’s portrait Infinite Polka Dots is a conceptual artwork made collaboratively using digital technologies. The class  combined photography with ipad apps and collage to create a piece full of dots, mirrors and buttons. 

The Not Just a Brush committee commenced the program in 2003 and this year teachers from public schools have participated in workshops with practising artists and their colleagues.

The teachers develop their skills and expertise in various artistic mediums including sculpture, textile and fibre, painting, drawing, ICT, ceramics and sculpture – not just with a brush.

These innovative ideas are then taken back to schools and where students work to create artworks reflecting the current theme. 

The 2016/17 theme is Check out the Masters A large volume of work is then sent to a selection committee towards the end of 2017, who choose the artworks to be exhibited at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery.​

The gallery is a key component of this program and it allows Marie Gibson and her portrait the chance of being exhibited at the Hazelhurst Gallery and viewed by her appreciative students.