This was a drawing done by one of the 8-year indigenous twins on their first day of our Art & Literacy program. These twins have been in 6 different Indigenous foster care homes in the last 18 months, they were very quiet and shy at first. Many come from very challenging circumstances, which included the twin girls having witnessed an adult in the foster home they were living having died from a drug overdose. Another had watched her young friend hang them-self.
Gradually the students warmed to us, I literally didn’t have a spare moment over the two days as they all wanted to get my help and develop their artwork and express themselves. Their challenging back-stories came through in their art. This was vividly seen in the artwork- one girl produced a painting of gravestones, another of a sunset with a message of hope. We photographed the artwork for the CCN to see what they achieved.
Although we taught them the tools of art and writing we wanted their own stories to come through, this is where a love of art and writing can grow, I believe art can literally save lives. Although many artworks were incredibly sad, challenges are a fact of life for these young, bright students and this was a very healthy forum for them to express and let go of these sometimes bottled up emotions- by expressing these terrible incidents through their art.
Marc McBride – Leading Australian Illustrator and Judge of the Young Australian Art awards.
Below is the artwork produced by the twins after two days of intense mentoring art & literacy workshops.