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The Murri School celebrates NAIDOC Week

Earlier this month, Queensland’s Murri School community came together to launch the innovative art project they have been working on since the beginning of the year.

Funded by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust, the project uses an inventive combination of visual art and technology to create a tree that tells stories gathered from the community.

Teaching Artist Amelia Kalifa has been facilitating workshops with students, parents and teachers as part of a Creative Community project at the school. The Song Room’s Creative Community projects are designed to build relationships between parents, the students, the school and the wider community, while sharing skills, resources and cultural knowledge.

The project provided opportunities for everyone to work together in the welcoming space of art making. During the workshops, each participant learnt how to sculpt a wire flower or leaf using recycled copper wire. Participants also recorded the answers to two questions: When you were younger, what did you wonder about? And when you’re older, what do you hope for yourself?

These elements were then combined into a touch sensitive sound installation, housed in a sculptural, handmade tree. Visitors to the tree are able to hear the stories simply by touching the leaves of the tree and listening through a tin can phone.

‘‘The project was all about providing a creative platform for the community to share their stories”, says teaching artist Amelia Kalifa, “by using touch sensitive technology we were able to create a sculpture that is both super engaging and meaningful to everyone involved”.

“My favourite part was making flowers,” said one of the participants. “I had so much fun”.

The work is prominently displayed in the school’s Family Room, a space especially designed to engage parents with the school. The interactive nature of the work means that anyone who visits this space is able to listen and explore the work as it grows.

“The students enjoyed hearing each other’s comments and feel more connected to each other as a result. The tree has become a focus point where students connect and listen and share the tin can. They talk with others about what has been said, promoting oral language and connection with others. The concept of listening to a voice by holding a wire is amazing. Everyone- students, parents, teachers, are equally blown away” – Family support worker, Murri School

The Murri School is an independent school in the Acacia Ridge area that caters to the local Indigenous community, so it was fitting that the launch of the project coincided with NAIDOC week, to help further connect the participants to Indigenous culture. The project was launched at a special event that incorporated live music, community stalls and plenty of food to share.

“The project provided students with a sense of awe, surprise and delight. For the school community it was an opportunity to create history. It was wonderful to see the community response from both old and young on the community day last Friday. Just fabulous!” –School Principal, Murri School

This project forms part of Amelia Kalifa’s on-going community art practice and research entitled Hive Mind. Hive Mind incorporates sculpture and technology components in an exciting and innovative way that allows participants to share their stories and become co-creators of something really meaningful. Find out more about the project below!

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