Express Yourself is an annual MAG&M exhibition of artworks by HSC Visual Arts students, selected from the 20 secondary schools across the Northern Beaches. 

This exhibition project has been a significant part of MAG&M’s program since 1995 and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to connecting with secondary schools across the region and to supporting visual arts education.

The exhibition celebrates the extraordinary talent and creativity of young emerging artists from our local community. It features a broad range of expressive artforms including painting, printmaking, ceramics, documented forms, graphic design, photomedia, sculpture, textiles and fibre, time-based forms, and collection of works.

Express Yourself 2020 walkthrough

Learn more about Express Yourself in this walkthrough of the 2020 exhibition.  Curator, Ross Heathcote discusses the selection process and provides a syllabus-linked commentary of selected works.  A valuable resource for Stage 6 Visual Arts teachers and students.

Express Yourself is presented by MAG&M and Northern Beaches Council in partnership with Northern Beaches secondary schools, MAG&M Society and NBC Youth Services. 

Participating schools

Barrenjoey High School
Covenant Christian School
Davidson High School
Killarney Heights High School
Mater Maria College
Narrabeen Sports High School
Northern Beaches Secondary College - Balgowlah Boys Campus
Northern Beaches Secondary College - Cromer Campus
Northern Beaches Secondary College - Freshwater Senior Campus
Northern Beaches Secondary College - Mackellar Girls Campus
Northern Beaches Secondary College - Manly Selective Campus
Northern Beaches Christian School
Oxford Falls Grammar School
Pittwater High School
St Augustine's College
St Luke's Grammar School
St Paul's Catholic College
Stella Maris Catholic College
The Pittwater House Schools
The Forest High School

Theo Batten Youth Art Award

$5,000 is awarded to a student continuing studies in the creative arts or a related field.  

Theo Batten was a talented artist, illustrator and cartoonist, and an adept writer.  He became famous for his cartoon strips Lucky Cat and Feathers which were featured in the Women’s Weekly and Woman’s Day magazines, amusing fans for almost a decade.

At the age of sixteen he gained a cadetship at The Sun newspaper and studied part-time at the National Art School before becoming the senior artist for the newspaper. While enlisted in the Cartographic Corps in World War II from 1940 to 1945, he displayed his talents as a musician, singer and performer entertaining troops in musical revues.

Theo Batten travelled to Europe, staying on in London for the next five years working as an illustrator for English advertising agencies. He returned to Australia in 1959, and moved to Manly in the 1980s.

Just before he died in 2003, with no children to leave an inheritance to, he discussed with Manly Art Gallery & Museum staff about leaving the proceeds of the sale of his Manly apartment, valued at $700,000, to the Gallery. In 2003 the Theo Batten Bequest Fund and the Theo Batten Youth Art Award were established. It is the most generous gift the Gallery has received to date which is why the largest gallery is named in his honour.

In his will, the Theo Batten Youth Art Award was to be presented to student/s going on to study art or a related field in the arts. MAG&M and Council has continued his legacy through this significant award.

View the Award winners list

MAG&M Society Youth Art Award

$3,000 award open to all students participating in the exhibition

This is an annual award offered by the Manly Art Gallery & Museum Society Committee.

The Society is a community organisation dedicated to giving the creative youth of the Northern Beaches region the opportunity to get their work on public display, and to supporting their future pursuits be it work or study.

View the Award winners list

KALOF People’s Choice Award

Gallery visitors vote for their favourite work. $200 winner / $100 runner-up

The KALOF People’s Choice Award is presented by Council’s Youth Services.

This award is announced at the close of the exhibition. 

Express Yourself 2022

View the amazing work of the 2021 HSC Visual Art students selected to participate in the 2022 exhibition.