Feeling at Home

Christina Ingram writes from Fremantle:

Looking back on week three  – and once again it has had a different feel to it. Definitely starting to feel more at home and apart of the team here at Dadaa.

Having said that we have spent a lot of time out of the office this week.

 Tuesday 30th October

Today we trekked up to Midland Junction Art Centre with Simone to meet and work with two artists (Tim Maley and Pat Carter.) who are currently  artists in residence at the Art Centre, as well being apart of the Startspeak programme, and the Here and Now 13 project.

It was really good to get out of Dadaa and to see some new surroundings, meet even more new people and to get involved with projects we have been told about.

Simone is great it’s like having our own Australian Mary! She is very big on documenting and recording. The first sort of evaluation and reflection we have seen so far. Simone documents by using an ipad. Recording the artists working and their works. Taking these back to the office to create an online blog that is easily accessible to the artists and everyone who is interested in what they are getting up to.

James’ blog post has a thorough account of our experience at the Midland Junction Art Centre on Tuesday, so I won’t add any more.

Wednesday 31st October

Here & Now 13

On Wednesday we were out of the office again, with Katherine, visiting artists at their homes on her Here & Now 13 project.

Katherine is mentoring twelve artists, working with them to improve their professional development and giving then a forum to move them up to the next level of professionalism. It was great to see and to get an idea of how she will be mentoring the artists and advising them -teaching them to work independently; giving the artist clear boundaries of how not to do the work for the artists. Or tell them how to do it. Just giving advice and guidance, as well as curating the final exhibition and a work in progress exhibition, which will be happening in a few weeks.

Visiting the artists work, outside the workshops we have seen them in, was fascinating. One of the artists we visited takes part in two workshops down at Dadaa. Seeing her works at home was fascinating because you could not only see the differences in her work from one workshop to the next, but also the difference in the work she is producing independently, taking inspiration from techniques she has been shown and learned in the workshops. Techniques and media she has enjoyed and felt connected to. Carrying on and developing them at home. Her independently produced works were much more colourful, textured and abstract. After talking to her sister, we learned it is something she was originally shown in her workshop. Seeing the freedom of her works and the skills that have developed independently really shows how much the workshops at Dadaa have a positive benefit. The arts practice for people with disabilities gives them a platform to exhibit their arts practice on a professional level.

The workshops are there to be informative, giving people with a disability a place to go to learn new techniques and create an artistic forum, as well as being a social experience. To see an artist develop independently as a result of the workshop felt very humbling. Witnessing the long term effects and benefits of the programme makes me realize how I could develop my professional practice to produce outcomes like these.

These visits to Midland and the Artists Homes have given us a broader insight in to how Dadaa develops artists and their long-term life skills. Seeing how it makes a positive difference to the people who walk through their doors. In their everyday lives and not just in the time they spend on a Dadaa project.

Check out the Here & Now (13) Project:

http://www.dadaawa.org.au/project/4/here-and-now-13/

About Mary Robson

Mary is the Arts in Health and Education Associate at the Centre for Medical Humanities.
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