Students put competition to the sword
Australind Senior High School students David Kaitani and Fletcher Cornish brought art, language and learning together to win the Art Speaks Japanese competition. Inspired by a painting of a samurai, the Year 10 students won the national competition with their wooden katana inscribed with Japanese writing on the pommel.
AUSTRALIND Senior High School language and art students David Kaitani and Fletcher Cornish have won first place in the national Japan Foundation Art Speaks Japanese Competition.
The two Year 10 students were successful in the junior secondary section for individual or pairs category, competing against Year 7 to Year 10 students from across Australia.
Students had to use artwork from the foundation’s Japanese Language Education Kit, on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, as inspiration for their entries.
The entries were also required to include Japanese writing.
The Australind students decided to make a wooden katana sword and display stand inspired by the painting The Death of Atsumori.
“It was about a young samurai who was killed and we explained our sword as the sword of Atsumori,” David said.
The students made the wooden sword at home and researched traditional Japanese wrapping techniques for the grip.
“It’s all wood except for the wrap which is some black shoelace fabric but we looked up the proper way to wrap a Japanese sword hilt,” David said.
To include language in the work, Japanese kanji writing, to mean strength or courage, was inscribed on the pommel.
David said they decided to enter a sculpture as something different from the other entries which often were paintings or drawings.
“Everyone else normally does a drawing or a painting, so we thought ‘what can we do that’s completely different to what anyone else has done’,” he said.
Japanese teacher Kate Hopkins said it was the first time the school had entered the competition.
“It’s a fantastic effort and it’s really good that they’ve got the result that they deserve from the work they put in,” she said.