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Brisbane Creative Community projects

In Brisbane, The Song Room’s Creative Community Projects resulted in two spectacular collaborations. The participants were Watson Road State School in Acacia Ridge and St Paul’s Catholic School in Woodridge. Both schools invited parents and other Indigenous community members to work together on an innovative, community driven creative project. Part of the integrated Song Room in-school programs, Creative Community Projects are designed to build relationships between the parents, the students and the school, as well as sharing skills, resources and cultural knowledge.

At Watson Road State School, the entire community came together to create a beautiful, multi-coloured, ceramic and glass mosaic, installed in a garden in the school grounds. Over many months, several families collaborated on the project, taking it from concept development through to design and installation. Local professional artist, Bev Ridsdill-Kenny, was commissioned to teach the skills to make the ceramic and glass tiles for the mosaic. Representing landscape features and animals of the region, the mural features a central river element, surrounded by Sulphur-crested Cockatoo’s, Kookaburras, turtles and starfish.

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During installation, children often came by to engage with their parent’s work. Many of the parents were surprised at just how spectacular the finished mosaic was. They also enjoyed the social aspects of collaborating. One parent remarked, “The workshop gave me motivation and I would like to be involved again.”

The Principal of Watsons Road State School commented that “Our school is constantly trying to draw in our families to participate in their child’s education. To have them here sharing their talents and culture through the project is truly special. Being a focus school for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, we are always looking to acknowledge our first nation and their talents. Thank you to The Song Room for all your support in our classrooms and community!”

At the official opening of the mosaic in June, there were performances by the students from The Song Room workshop program and speeches from the participating parents. Aboriginal Elder Aunty Margaret Riley cut the ribbon to open the stairs.

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At St Paul’s Catholic School in Woodridge, the parents decided to make a giant puppet. The result was a Rainbow Serpent measuring over 15 meters, with large reptilian eyes and silver, lime and ochre scales.

The making of the Serpent required the use of several techniques. The head was made of woven bamboo decorated with acrylic paint. The long fabric body was dyed in rainbow colours. Hands were spray-painted to stencil on the scales and the material sewn into Serpent form.

The parents also created a performance of the Rainbow Serpent story, which they performed for the students.

The project was such a spectacular success that the parents were asked to perform at the Logan NAIDOC Day Celebrations and have now been commissioned by the Logan Council to create more giant puppets with Indigenous themes to feature in a festival later this year.

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