Foundation Programme and International Coordinator Lynnemaree Patterson and twelve Whitecliffe students have been involved in an exciting project at the Refugee Youth Action Network (RYAN) in Mt Roskill. The students involved were Christian Wolfgramm, Libby Cavenett, Shanti Brown, Orion Mabelle, Harrison Sarsfield, Joyce Mapausua, Nicole Pa'u, JaimieWaititi, Bonnie Garton Stack, Cecilia Morales-Flores, Jill De Roos and Grace Hall.
Lynnemaree shares her account of the project:
There was a wave of excitement among the 50 young people gathered on the last Saturday of June at the RYAN (Refugee Youth Action Network) Centre in Mt Roskill. These young people from 15 different countries (Burma, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Somalia, Malaysia, New Zealand, USA, China, Zimbabwe, Colombia, Samoa, Vietnam and Australia) had come together to transform a large cream wall at the centre into a blaze of colour, based on the theme: A Sense of Place.
The group collaboratively designed a mural, which explores themes of community, commonality, identity and their shared aspirations for a better, safer, more caring and sustainable world. Stories and conversations were shared as the art poured onto the walls. 30 more youths joined in on the Sunday and the artwork expanded to include pillars and a second wall. An infectious enthusiasm infused the air as the participants, some of whom did not speak a lot of English and many of whom had never held a paintbrush, came to add their unique marks to the wall. A vibrant narrative based on the dreams and aspirations of those involved emerged and was woven together in true co-creative fashion by the RYAN ‘artists’ and the students of Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design.
A young person from China – It feels like home. Everyone stick together like family. Seeing the painting today. I can feel the creativity of this group. It is not only art that we are painting. It’s love.
A young person from Somalia. I have been here 2 years stay here. This is my first time I do painting like this. Definitely I want do more. I work with the Art students on my part of the wall. We all do together. They helped me and we all help each other to make this beautiful painting. So big, so beautiful, so much we do all together.
The mural will be acknowledged publicly on International Day of Peace, 21 September. This endeavour was, very generously supported, by 1people1planet, Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design, Refugees As Survivors NZ, Bunnings Mt Roskill, Resene paints, ASB Community Trust and Auckland City Council Creative Communities funding. More projects are planned as, already; these young people are talking about the next initiatives, which will include a public mural and a photographic exhibition.