Mia Armsworth is a passionate artist and now winner of the RIDBC Dr Frederick Gregory-Roberts prize, awarded to a student assisted by RIDBC School Support Service (Vision Impairment) for outstanding performance in the HSC. “It was a really great experience to win the prize, I definitely wasn’t expecting it!” she says excitedly.
Mia’s success doesn’t stop there, the eighteen-year-old recently celebrated the display of her artwork at the New South Wales Art Gallery as part of the ARTEXPRESS exhibition, which recognises outstanding pieces from HSC students.
While many artists have a story behind their works, Mia’s is particularly personal and beautiful; her photo media piece, How Many Fingers Do I See? shares her journey with North Carolina Macular Dystrophy.
“I realised I could use my art to help people to view vision impairment in a different way” Mia says, “Initially, I wasn’t sure what to do for the piece however the idea became clear after talking about it with my family”.
Diagnosed with the condition when she was in preschool, Mia has reduced vision and depth perception, but rather than let it hinder her artistic journey, it offers her uniqueness. “My vision impairment lets me see things differently – it’s part of who I am,” she says. “There are so many different mediums, art is for everybody. For me, I am really into colour, shapes and patterns.”
In 2018, Mia graduated high school with outstanding results in her HSC, giving her a myriad of university options.
When it came time to choose a university, Sydney-based Mia decided her heart was set on studying in Melbourne, a city she terms “Australia’s Art Capital”. So, earlier this year, Mia packed her bags for a new life, living away from home as a Fine Art student at Melbourne’s RMIT. She says the experience was both exciting and daunting and lists learning to cook for herself as one of her biggest challenges. A few months on, Mia has settled into her studies and is enjoying the experience.
Currently majoring in Painting, she encourages other young people with vision impairment to consider art studies, if that is where the passion lies. “Art is individual and everybody experiences it differently,” she concludes. And despite only starting her degree this year, Mia’s ambition is much higher including progressing to a Masters in the arts.