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Thank-you Busselton community

Posted by Craig Walsh

Since we came to Busselton, more than 50 people have generously participated in making digital portraits, and over 1500 people have participated either through drop-in workshops at ArtGeo, or through working with the local art educators, participation in art classes and visits to schools and organisations. We are grateful for the incredible support the community has shown for the project. Thank-you very much for participating, and congratulations on the high quality of suitcase sculptures produced by organisations and individuals. We have been deeply touched by the depth of the stories that local community members have shared.

A taste of Friday night's celebration at ArtGeo Cultural PrecinctA taste of Friday night's celebration at ArtGeo Cultural Precinct

When people come together to share stories and discover their own creativity, it is always amazing to see how each unique project becomes a focal point for expressing both positive and negative aspects of community life. As people discover their shared concerns and experiences, it often creates a new sense of connectedness within a community. And as they work through both joy and pain together, the creative process provides an opportunity to weave something new that reflects their unique sense of place, and celebrates this collective identity.

Simple things make art magic: sorting things by colour, wrapping them as a form of protection or to bind them, finding a place to put those precious objects that hold your memories and emotions, the opportunity to laugh and share stories with other people in your community as you work together.

Suitcases – which for many have become a symbol of a disjointed existence and absence from home – have been considered as a vessel for holding those connections to self and community. As we have worked with materials including suitcases, stories or objects that hold some significance to us, it provided an opportunity to slow down and figure out what they all mean. Weaving these elements together – the digital portraits and the suitcase artworks created by community members – has created something truly unique, that is both thought and emotion-provoking. It is clearly a reflection of the Busselton community. 

The intimate perspectives on the big subjects shared on video has also been confronting for some and we thank-you for your bravery in contributing to this part of the project. We have gained such an insight into Busselton through this process and, collectivelly, the video portraits define what is important to those who participated. The final edit of portraits responding to ideas of 'belonging' combined with the suitcase installation inspired by belonging will, we hope, act as a catylyst for the conversation to continue in the broader community. The portraits occupying public space aim to talk with the general public whist including the environment as an influence on our sense of 'belonging'.

Not long now untill all will be revealed as to how the processes and artforms utlised by us independedly will mutate and form a collective artwork made up of many individuals, not unlike the many individuals who make up the community.

Special thanks to everyone who has participated and supported the project. It’s less than a week to go until our community celebration, open for all to experience. Please join us at ArtGeo after dark (around 6.30pm) on 22 November. 

Craig, Hiromi and the crew

Comments (3)

Yves and Denise Behar

Visited the ArtGeo Cultural Complex in Busselton as we were staying in the area and were curious to see what was happening in the Arts arena. Well, what a surprise!!! To be so warmly welcomed and have the current community arts project explained fully to us. It was no trouble when we wanted to take some photos and the project staff got enthused and started photographing as well, donning us in costumes. What great community spirit and a truly memorable experience. Yves and Denise Behar (from Melbourne).

dawn brittain

A truly worthwhile experience for me and a reminder that everyone is special in their own way ... we all need to feel a sense of belonging to help us to shine in our own way ... and that helps us to help others. You, Hirom,i are very special. It was a privelage to be with you and Craig and Matt, Plus the other paticipants. Joy to you all, Dawn B.

Lynne Thompson

What a wonderful experience this has been for me. Both you and Hiromi have truly inspired me and I took such great joy in participating. It was also a very emotional experience. So thank-you both enormously. You are true angels in disguise.

Let's hear your voice

Dadaa Principal partnerRio Tinto Arts partner Australia Council