The National Art School’s 2021 Master of Fine Arts Graduation Exhibition is now open, showcasing the achievements of the most recent MFA graduates as they emerge from a year shrouded by uncertainty.

COVID-19 has had an enormous effect on the school’s educational practices for the last twelve months. Like many educational institutions, NAS was forced to pivot from a practical learning experience to one that was online.

Many students were delighted with the support that NAS provided.

MFA Sculpture student Alexandra Mills told Urban Village: “I was surprised because I don’t have great faith in organisations generally as functioning entities. I was amazed how well the school handled communications with the students during that time and managed the return.”

“It was quite thoughtful; it was very thorough.”

“It has an intensity and a sense of commitment that many art schools that have been absorbed into the University environment don’t have.”

NAS CEO Steven Alderton added: “Despite the difficulties and disruptions this year, their outstanding and accomplished work shows they are ready to join the celebrated ranks of NAS alumni.”

The support provided to NAS students throughout the pandemic is seen as a reflection of the sense of community and welcoming environment that the school has, and that attracted many students to complete their master’s at the school.

Recent MFA Graduate Aimee Gardyne said she did her undergraduate degree at NAS, and then had a “few years just being in the studio at home.”

“I really missed the community and having something to spur me forward, committing to research and dedicating a solid block of time to being with other artists and learning,” she said.

Much like the BFA Grad Show that occurs at the end of every year, the NAS MFA Grad Show showcases the best of ceramics, drawing, painting, photo media, printmaking and sculpture.

The National Art School Master of Fine Arts Exhibition will run from 11-21 February.

Image: 2020 MFA graduate Amelia Lynch in her ceramic studio at the National Art School. Photo: Peter Morgan