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Creativity, engagement and a sense of place: FIVE Geraldton reflects

Posted by Andrea Lewis

On Thursday 8 May 2014, FIVE Geraldton held a community celebration and launched its exhibtion of works.

Street performers contributed to the festivities of our FIVE Geraldton celebrationStreet performers contributed to the festivities of our FIVE Geraldton celebration

Thursday evening's activities were focused on the Post Office Square carpark and laneway, with giant projections of the digital portraits artwork illuminating the graffitied walls of buildings, and street food and pop-up markets adding to the festivities. The screening was a chance for Geraldtonians to see the collection of their stories, filmed by artist Craig Walsh over the preceding four weeks around what it means to 'belong.' Once Craig has completed a final version of the work, edited to include environmental material relevant to Geraldton, it will be available on the FIVE website.

The whole-of-community sculpture – the product of a spirited community working in collaboration with artist Hiromi Tango at the ACDC Gallery – found a home for its exhibition in the heritage Stables Building, adjacent to the Post Office Square car park. Many visitors made their way there on the night of our celebration, entering a magical world of nests, each one illuminated in the dark and intimate space, and drammatically offset by the rough stone walls, high ceilings and concrete floor of this historical building. The nest have now been installed at the Geraldton Regional Art Galery, the City of Greater Gearldton Queens Park Theater and the Geraldton town office, along with a didactic explaining the project. If you missed our 8 May celebration, come along and see parts of this uniquely detailed artwork at one of these venues.

In laneways off Marine Terrace, artworks created in FIVE's youth projects were installed – and can still be seen. Local artist Jordan Andreotta worked with young people to produce a graffiti mural, while Chris Williams from DADAA recorded vocal narratives from a diverse selection of community members reflecting on youth and offering messages for the younger generation. These stories were installed in backpacks with earphones and attached to beautifully rendered paste-up images of the participants' backs.

A series of photographs, created by young people from Geraldton Streetwork Aboriginal Corporation in collaboration with artist Sonal Kantaria, were strung across the length of one of the laneway walls off Marine Terrace. Created during photo narrative workshops held by Sonal, the imagery explores individuality, identity and connection to place.

Finally, on Sunday 11 May, more than 100 balloons were pegged to the lawn in Edith Cowan Square on the Geraldton Foreshore. Earlier that week, artsworker Chris Williams had spent three mornings at the Geraldton Airport asking fly-in-fly-out workers and other travellers what keeps them in Geraldton and what they miss most while away. Their responses were tagged to the balloons, forming another collective narrative around themes of 'home' from those who live here.

FIVE Geraldton's success has been, in large part, due to our highly talented artists and fabulous community effort. FIVE artists are committed and skilled community-based artists – their practice is collaborating with communities to produce new works that cause us to reflect and to see creativity, relationships and our sense of place in new ways. FIVE works through a process of participatory arts – it is whole-of-community engagement that brings people together, builds bridges and creates bonds, and feeds into the social and cultural capital that we know is so vital in building resilient communities.

Thanks to all partner organisations, in particular ACDC Gallery – who hosted Hiromi's workshops for six weeks – and the wonderful staff at the City of Greater Geraldton, whose vision, commitment and professionalism were key factors in effectively bringing together the very fluid contexts of art and community to realise meaningful social impacts.

DADAA looks forward to its ongoing relationship with the City of Greater Geraldton over the next five years, as we deliver additional community arts and cultural development programs to support young people in town, and contribute to the City's long-term vibrancy strategies around artistic and cultural development.


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