Visual Arts (ATAR)

Course Code: AEVAR/ATVAR
Domain: The Arts
Timetable: Semester 1 and 2
Length of Course: 2 Years

Unit Information

The Visual Arts (ATAR) course encompasses the practice and theory of the broad areas of art, craft and design.
Students have opportunities to express their imagination, develop personal imagery, develop skills and
engage in the making and presentation of artwork. They develop aesthetic understandings and a critical
awareness that assists them to appreciate and make informed evaluations of art.

This course places value on divergence, uniqueness and individuality. It assists students to value and develop
confidence in their own creative abilities and to develop a greater understanding of their environment,
community and culture. The Visual Arts (ATAR) course engages students in a process that helps them develop
motivation, self-esteem, discipline, collaborative practice and resilience, all of which are essential life skills.
Enterprise and initiative are recognised and encouraged.

Within contemporary society, there is increasing demand for visual literacy: the ability to perceive,
understand, interpret and evaluate visual information. The Visual Arts (ATAR) course enables students to
develop their visual literacy and communication skills and become discriminating in their judgements.
Particular aspects of life are understood and shared through visual symbol systems that are non-verbal
modes of knowing.

The Visual Arts (ATAR) course encourages students to develop problem-solving skills together with creative
and analytical ways of thinking. Innovation is encouraged through a process of inquiry, exploration and
experimentation. Students transform and shape ideas to develop resolved artwork. They engage in
art-making processes in traditional and new media areas, which involve exploring, selecting and
manipulating materials, techniques, processes, emerging technologies and responses to life. This course
allows them to engage in traditional, modern and contemporary art forms, such as sculpture, painting,
drawing, graphic design, printmaking, collage, ceramics, earth art, video art, installations, textiles,
performance, photography, montage, multimedia, and time-based works and environments.

Students gain knowledge, understanding and appreciation of art and culture, both in Australian and
international contexts. They analyse and evaluate their own works and the works of others from a range of
historical and cultural viewpoints, and develop an appreciation of the role of art in the community and their
daily lives. Through their art experiences, they come to an understanding of broader questions about the
values and attitudes held by individuals and societies and gain an awareness of the role that art plays in
reflecting, challenging and shaping societal values.

The Visual Arts (ATAR) course aims to enable students to make connections to relevant fields of study and to
more generally prepare them for creative thinking and problem solving in future work and life. It aims to
contribute to a sense of enjoyment, engagement and fulfilment in their everyday lives, as well as to promote
an appreciation for the environment and ecological sustainability.

Unit One

The focus for this unit is differences. Students may, for example, consider differences arising from cultural
diversity, place, gender, class and historical period. Differences relating to art forms, media and conventions
may also provide a stimulus for exploration and expression.

Students explore ways of collecting, compiling and recording information and documenting thinking and
working practices. They explore approaches to drawing and develop awareness that each artist has his or
her particular way of making marks to convey personal vision. Students examine how visual language and
media choices contribute to the process of conveying function and meaning, and use a range of media and
technologies to explore, create, and communicate ideas.

Students recognise that visual artwork is subject to different interpretations and appreciate that informed
responses should take into account the varying contexts within which a work of art is created. They develop
awareness of styles of representation, examining distinctly individualistic approaches of artists in different
times and places.

Unit Two

The focus for this unit is identities. In working with this focus, students explore concepts or issues related to
personal, social, cultural or gender identity. They become aware that self-expression distinguishes
individuals as well as cultures. Students use a variety of stimulus materials and use a range of investigative
approaches as starting points to create artwork. They develop a personal approach to the development of
ideas and concepts, making informed choices about the materials, skills, techniques and processes used to
resolve and present their artwork.

Students develop understandings of the personal and/or public functions of art in the expression of identity,
for example, spiritual expression, psychological expression, therapy, ceremony and ritual, and the purposes
of art, such as narrative – telling personal stories or exploring myths. They understand that art may give form
to ideas and issues that concern the wider community.

Response to artwork stimulates insights, encourages deeper understandings, and challenges preconceived
ideas. Students develop an awareness of how the visual arts may be both socially confirming and
questioning, analyse their own cultural beliefs and values and develop deeper understandings of their own
personal visual arts heritage.

Unit Three

The focus for this unit is commentaries. In this unit, students engage with the social and cultural purposes of
art making to produce a unique and cohesive body of work. Broad and innovative inquiry includes the
conceptualisation and documentation of experiences within contemporary society. Students transform ideas
and develop concepts using innovative approaches to art making and presentation. They document their
thinking and working practices, having the flexibility to work across media and art forms.

Students research artwork providing critical comment on the meaning, purpose and values communicated.
They examine their own beliefs and consider how the visual arts have reflected and shaped society in
different times and places.

Consideration is given to the roles of artists in different societies, for example, hero, outsider, commentator
and social critic. Students investigate the social functions of art, for example political and ideological
expression, satire, social description or graphic communication. They address the relationship between form,
function and meaning and develop understandings of how artists are influenced by pervasive ideas, events
and circumstances, and how re-contextualisation contributes to meanings and messages in artwork.

Unit Four

The focus for this unit is points of view. Students identify and explore concepts or issues of personal
significance in the presentation of a sustained, articulate and authentic body of work. They engage in
sustained inquiry, exploring ideas and developing concepts to communicate a personal point of view.

Students investigate a range of solutions using visual language and document the progressive resolution of
thinking and working practices. Skills, techniques and processes are combined in the pursuit of new art
forms, innovation and personal style.

Students use critical analysis frameworks to develop an understanding of the practice of art making and art
interpretation. They research and analyse factors affecting points of view such as time, place, culture,
religion and politics, synthesising this knowledge to express a personal viewpoint or position. In the analysis
of their own and others’ artwork, students reflect on the relationship between artwork, audiences and
contextual factors, and consider how these contribute to the development of different perspectives.

Pathway Information



Students undertaking this course may wish to consider tertiary studies in:

  • Fine Arts
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Diploma of Visual Arts

This course suits direct workforce entry into the following:

  • Artist
  • Museum Officer
  • Merchandiser
  • Interior Decorator

Additional Information

Estimated Charges: $150 per year