To understand the rigours and requirements of learning and teaching in the secondary Visual Arts classroom, students have stepped into the shoes of a Year 12 student for a few months, to develop the equivalent of a HSC Body of Work. As Distance Education students, they have engaged in independent artmaking practice, as well as collaborated via a virtual classroom to share ideas and approaches, to give each other feedback on works-in-progress, and to generate responses and create artworks. Teaching and learning simultaneously, contributing to and facilitating the work of the entire group, has been the focus of our project, which began its life titled Small Object, Big Story.

The exhibition name grew from this modest beginning, through a process of suggestion and negotiation of the many ideas put forward. How best to represent the sheer diversity of ideas and art forms using mere words? Memory Palace does this, by inviting the audience across its humble threshold, to view and enjoy the rich array of poignant symbolism, evocative aesthetics and technical mastery contained within. All beginning with the selection of simple household objects from the Chifley Home collection, this exhibition narrates the history and culture of place on a range of levels, depending on the relationships and memories brought into the home by the viewer.

Despite the challenges of the ‘tyranny of distance education’, with contributions from students across Australia and the world, each artwork communicates the artist’s personal connection to the narrative in some way. Each artist has found a way of linking aspects of the personal and/or private life of Ben and Elizabeth Chifley with their own experiences and histories. This is something we hope may be transferred in turn to you, our audience, as you take a virtual walk through the rooms of our Memory Palace.