Tag Archive: challenging stereotypes

  1. Star Mail article – Public art project sees collaboration between young and old

    Leave a Comment

    74 year-old Croydon man Alexei Ho at the Boronia Progress Hall, where his art work made alongside five other adults over 60 and nine primary school students from Boronia K-12 College is now on display. PICTURE: TYLER WRIGHT

    By Tyler Wright

    When it came to getting involved in a collaborative art project with primary school children from Boronia K-12 College, 74-year-old Croydon resident Alexei couldn’t think of anything better.

    “Young grandchildren never spend time with their grandparents and do creative things; they talk and play, [but] that’s it,” Alexei said.

    “This is good – share ideas that we can offer society, your own community… I love it.

    If every place do the same, how wonderful the place would be.”

    Alongside five other adults over the age of 60, Alexei spent one day a week from mid-July to August at Boronia’s Progress Hall creating artwork with 14 primary school children from Boronia K-12 College as part of Eastern Community Legal Centre’s ‘My Generation’ art project.

    ‘My Generation’ was created as a way to break down inter-generational stereotypes, combat ageism and build connections within the community.

    Participants drew animals, people and patterns; the final product injecting vibrant colour into what was a dull laneway between the Progress Hall and Knox Infolink.

    Alexei has noticed visitors to the cafe at the Progress Hall who he has not seen before; attributing to the “bright” artwork made public in September.

    “It brightens the place, the place looks so young again, so open,” Alexei said.

    Boronia local and artist 71-year-old Bronwyn Hampshire thought it would be “fun” to create art with her younger counterparts when she first joined ‘My Generation’ – and the experience seemed to live up to her expectations.

    “We had to draw something, so one of [the students] drew a basketball as a head and then the other one did a football as the body…so I did snake legs and fish arms,” Bronwyn said.

    “It’s quirky art, but it really does look fantastic in the space that it’s been placed.

    I’m proud of it, and I’m sure the kids are too.”

    Boronia K-12 College Assistant Principal Cassandra Wright said misconceptions around being creative, or doing things ‘the right way’ became evident as the students began working with older people, trying something new and seeing things from a different perspective.

    “[The] workshop leader did a lot of work with them around art as an expression of self, they talked a lot about personal values, talked a lot about how we’re feeling and how art reflects how we’re feeling, and I think that lent the kids being able to have a lot of connections with the older people that they might not have seen without that,” Cassandra said.

    “Because when they talked about ‘oh, well I’m really passionate about the environment,’ and the students were ‘oh, actually, I’m really passionate about the environment, I’m really big on that, too,’ they made some connections they might not otherwise have had.”

    Cassandra said shy students were able to come out of their shells during the workshops.

    “There were a few, probably not misconceptions, but that old people struggle with mobility and things like that, whereas the older generation that worked with us, they didn’t struggle with their mobility… they were doing things, they made connections with them about walking dogs and doing all of that sort of stuff,” Cassandra said.

    For Bronwyn, more programs like ‘My Generation’ could only benefit the community moving forward.

    “Whether it be gardening projects or art projects or dancing… I think is a good thing, because there are, I’m sure, a lot of people locked away in their homes, not knowing how to interact with other people, especially if their families have moved away,” Bronwyn said.

    “If projects can be created by anybody, whether it be council, or the Knox legal services…because not only was it about the kids and the oldies, also their parents were there too for the opening day, and their parents got to meet people, and I got to talk to some of the parents of some of the kids…

    There should be more.”

    Meanwhile, Alexei will continue volunteering at Hope City Mission in Croydon and the Salvation Army, waiting for the next community project to jump onto.

    “If you do something that makes you feel good, it’s always better,” he said.

    “Kindness is a disease that spreads… everyone kindness brings happiness from small things…

    It’s priceless.”

    Partners of Eastern Community Legal Centre’s ‘My Generation’ project include The Basin Community House, EACH, Eastern Regional Libraries, Knox City Council, Knox Leisureworks, Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place (MMIGP), Swinburne University and Women’s Health East (WHE).

    “It has been an honour providing a platform for participants to work together creatively, to learn about ageism and stereotypes; and to have their work permanently decorate a walkway in Boronia and celebrated through events – has just been the icing on the cake,” Eastern Community Legal Centre CEO Michael Smith said.

    Read the original article below:

    Public art project sees collaboration between young and old



  2. Star Mail – Community art project in Boronia breaking down stereotypes

    Leave a Comment

    By Tyler Wright

    Artists both young and old are coming together to combat ageism and build a diverse public art project to be displayed in the Boronia township.

    The Eastern Community Legal Centre’s ‘My Generation’ initiative has joined primary school children in year levels four, five and six from Boronia K-12 College with those aged over 60 years old, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents aged over 50 years of age, to create a collaborative series of artworks and documentary film.

    Drawing and painting activities held as part of the art workshops each week from Wednesday 13 July at Boronia’s Progress Hall will culminate into a larger display between Progress Hall and Knox Infolink, alongside painted bricks and decorated rubbish bins.

    “I think we’re looking for something really joyful and eye-catching to lighten up the space and brighten up the space a bit,” Lead Artist and workshop facilitator Alisa Tanaka-King said.

    “I imagine it will feature some themes around connection in nature,” Alisa said.

    Other common themes that have arisen through collaborative painting and drawing activities include family, the environment and climate change.

    “We’ll all be working off the same piece of paper or someone will be drawing something and then passing it along so then someone adds to it,” Alisa said.

    “The artwork never really belongs to one person. It reflects elements of everyone’s bits that they’ve added.”

    “We’ve done some portraits and we’ve also done some creating of creatures and monsters that everyone adds to,” Alisa said.

    And then this week, we’re also talking about symbols, and the importance of symbols and communicating messages, and what symbols we might be using, or wanting to look at, to use in the artwork.

    People are also making their own flags as a personal reflection of what they they stand for and represent.”

    Boronia resident and mosaic artist Suzy Lyons joined the ‘My Generation’ project after seeing a post on social media about the initiative and thought it would be a great way to be involved in the community after owning her house in Boronia for 20 years.

    “We’ve lived here for a very long time and I love working with children, I was an integration aide for quite a few years, I’ve worked on a summer camp over in the US as an art teacher. So the thought of working with kids again, actually was what probably interested me the most, because I love inspire them and see what they can do,” Suzy said.

    Suzy said she is “blown away” at how intelligent the primary school children she works with are; knowing about large topics such as climate change and the environment.

    “The things that they talk about is quite mind blowing, to be honest,” Suzy said.

    “It’s been really fun. And we haven’t been given the whole picture yet, so I’m not really understand understanding how the outdoor artwork is going to evolve. But as we go week to week, I can see the collaboration of everybody adding just a small piece to something bigger. And I suspect that that’s what’s going to happen.

    “I’m a mosaic artist, mostly, so I’m feeling like this is really interesting process, because we’ve been doing a lot of drawing,” she said.

    Lead Artist Alisa said connecting young primary school students with those in their community over 50 helps break down stereotypes around how a person in an older age bracket may act or what their needs may be.

    “There’s not a big conversation around elder abuse yet, I don’t think I think it’s not something that a lot of people are aware of,” Alisa said.

    “It’s been noted that one of the key drivers is ageism, and ageist attitudes, and throughout all our communities we see so many ageist attitudes. even unintentionally.

    I have all sorts of preconditioned ageist attitudes within myself that I’m not even aware of, and they’re not intentionally malicious, but they are there, because that’s what society tells us.”

    And I think projects like this, to try and give a voice to older members of the community and build relationships with other members of the community is really important and trying to stop that, so that we’re not making assumptions about what older people want and need and believe in, and actually give them the opportunity to tell us themselves.”

    Alisa said since the workshops began in mid-July, children have been asking their older companions personal questions like “how are your chickens going?” or “how was your partners birthday?” and older participants are remembering conversations, even knowing one particular young student’s inspiration was to be a Ballerina.

    “If [the children] then see [older participants] in the street or in a shop they’re likely to say hello and connect and care about their well being in a different way to if those connections weren’t made,” Alisa said.

    “I think that’s where really engaging other people in the community with relationships in an intergenerational way is so important, because that’s what will slowly, slowly change those attitudes.”

    Eastern Community Legal Centre (ECLC) has partnered with The Basin Community House, EACH, Eastern Regional Libraries Boronia branch, Knox Council, Knox Leisureworks, Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place, Swinburne University and Women’s Health East to create ‘My Generation’.

    A public film screening event of the ‘My Generation’ documentary featuring various participants will be screened on 29 August or 30 August (date TBC) from 6:30pm to 8:00pm.

    For more information on the Eastern Community Legal Centre’s work on elder abuse, phone 1300 32 52 00, email eclc.org.au or visit https://eclc.org.au/what-we-do/partnerships-and-projects/elder-abuse/rose-rights-of-seniors-in-the-east/

    If you or anyone you know is experiencing elder abuse, you can contact 1800ELDERHelp (1800 353 374) or 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).


    Read the original article here