Art at Work is about creative community engagement through the arts, working with all ages, abilities and in diverse locations. On the Land, a collaborative community engagement project, part of the Whau Arts Festival, October 2014, Avondale. Iona Matheson from Te Uru Gallery in Titirangi invited Sue to contribute to the Whau Arts Festival organised by Sam Morrison from whauthepeople
We decided to work with the local school, Avondale Primary, on a large collaborative art project that would involve all 370 students.
Sue and Sam were assisted by Ioana and Esther, two tutors from Unitec, along with 40 of their students. Iona from Te Uru, Avondale Primary’s principal Greg and his teaching staff also joined in the fun.
On the Land explores the idea of our cultural footprint building up as layers over time and space. We wanted the artwork to pull the school physically into the Whau Arts Festival, which was based across the road in an area renamed the Plantation.
The tivaevae and surrounding Maori panels that make up the art work grew out of the cultural diversity at the school and the Whau area. We wanted the work to be vibrant, colourful and massive. The final installation covered 20sq metres of the sports field at Avondale Primary School.
In one day we enlarged the design and painted 196 of the total 260 metre square panels, using recycled billboard fabric, kindly donated by Chris from Billboard Solutions and Resene paints donated by Youthtown. The whole school was buzzing with creative activity as the students worked outside in the courtyard. It was lovely to see several children working together on each panel, being mentored by the Unitec students.
A big thanks to all those who assisted in making On the Land happen, especially Simon Clark, Sam Morrison and the Whau the People collective and Iona Matheson, Te Uru Gallery, Titirangi. During the making, installation and pack down of the artwork, many local community members volunteered their help. I’m grateful to Ace, Moana, Faith, a young man from Afghanistan, Zain Rainer, Troy Egan, Esther from AUT and many others especially the children, teachers and staff at Avondale Primary. If your organisation would like to undertake a collaborative art project Contact Sue