At the age of 14, Ken become the National Art School’s youngest student, and his time there helped shape his artistic career. To celebrate their illustrious alumni, whose careers began with the National Art School, the institution held a landmark exhibition featuring the work of 50 alumni from over seven decades. Speaking at the exhibition opening Ken told little known stories about his time as the art school's youngest student and how being a young artist in Sydney impacted his career.
‘National Art - Part One is an exhibition and celebration of artworks by fifty practising Australian artists who have studied at the National Art School and have generously donated works from their personal collections to the School … this extraordinary body of over 160 works represents a powerful expression of their generosity, and the support and affection they share for the National Art School’
- Steven Alderton, Director and CEO, National Art School
‘Art student days. A celebratory lunch – me and my stuffed rooster, a few beers and a couple of cokes. How sophisticated.’
- Ken Done, A Life Coloured in, 2016
"No art speak, no theory, just painting and drawing everyday, what a joy. I was so young I called everybody Mr or Mrs and I'm forever grateful for my parents allowing me to leave school at fourteen and a half and then to be accepted into the art school. Forever there will be theories and questions about art, I think there are only two criteria: one, that you should like it yourself and two, that it should have the power to give pleasure over a long period of time."
- Ken Done