Students wins Vinnies Art Prize

The Inaugural Vinnies Just Art Competition

Congratulations to Shereen D’Costa of 11Purple, winner of the Visual Arts Award (Secondary School Age) for her work, A Big Message in a Little Bottle.

A Big Message in a Little Bottle

This is my rationale of the painting, just in case you wanted to read about the meaning/message behind my painting.

You don’t have to have received one to be familiar with the term ‘a message in a bottle’. A Big Message in a Little Bottle depicts a young girl in a bottle stranded at sea. Similar to a message in the bottle, the little girl is trapped out at sea like asylum seekers are stranded and contained on boats at sea or in detention centres. The young girl with her hand pressed against the bottle depicts the action of reaching out in hope that someone will find her, like those sending out messages in bottles also have the hope of someone finding their message.

A Big Message addresses current issues surrounding those seeking asylum. A little bottle is a symbol for containment, the physical abandonment out at sea, but also the political issue which some seem to ignore. This is also shown through the cool colours used in the painting, which depicts the cold, negative approach to asylum seekers. The reality is that they are more than just the reason for their journey to seek refuge. The young girl in the artwork shows that asylum seekers are humans first and foremost, and that they each have their own story and message. A Big Message in a Little Bottle is an unheard voice.

She, like many others, has a story to share explaining where she is coming from and about why she is seeking asylum. The untold message could be that she is seeking asylum because of war in her country or persecution. She may have a story of the hardship she has gone through such as discrimination because of her race or religion, inhumane and cruel punishments, or losing her family and home. She is all alone. Many young children are orphaned as their parents may have passed during war or they have been separated in their search for hope.

Shereen D’Costa


Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Oakleigh