Connecting a young community through art
- 15 December 2020 2:04PM
A creative collaboration at the Queensland Government’s Logan Youth Foyer in Brisbane has produced an art mural featuring local wildlife and Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Pacific Islander art.
The youth foyer underwent an expansion in 2019 in order to increase the availability of supported housing for young people.
Taylor is a resident at the foyer and says being part of the art collaboration has made her feel more at home.
“I thought it was a really good, fun thing for us to do here and it got all the people in the complex to get to know each other a bit better,” she says.
“Whenever I walk to the office I’m always going to see it and it just reminds me of my culture and makes me feel a lot more comfortable here.”
The mural was an idea proposed by young people during the design phase.
“During consultation, the young people were talking about a graffiti wall and that idea was really embraced by the architects, who included an art installation piece as part of the Foyer’s design,” says Frankie Higgins, who supports the state government’s homelessness response.
“Following construction, Wesley Mission [who manage the complex] engaged local Indigenous artists to work with the young people at the foyer and develop the design for the mural,” he says.
“By including young people in the design process and effectively painting the mural has really helped engage the whole community.”
Collaboration and creativity brings people together
REKON Youth Outreach and local Indigenous artists Big P and Jessica Skein were selected by Wesley to work with the young residents and develop a concept for the artwork.
“The young people came together and talked about some of their interests and backgrounds and what they felt represented them,” says Rolando Pisia, who heads up REKON Youth Outreach.
“In a way, this Foyer has united them and they've created a new family here, so they wanted to see that in the art piece.
“So, you can see a lot of the elements all come together. They’re not separated, because there’s a synergy of cultures and values here.”
The mural also presents a Welcome to Country for visitors and new residents.
“The artwork is a story and a welcome to different cultures — that this is the place they belong and can feel safe in,” says Jessica Skein, a proud Widi, Birriah and Kuku Yalanji artist.
“What I've noticed when I have worked with young ones and with even these a lot here is they're really reserved at the start but then when they get hands-on and they get that encouragement to be a part of it it's just it's an empowerment that you see in them.
“It helps them take ownership and it helps them bring about pride and a sense of belonging, that their voices matter.
“That’s a really powerful thing that we need to embrace as a community — our young people matter and they need to feel it.”
Feeling empowered is what Gillian, a resident at the foyer also took away from the project.
“I think it’s made me a bit more confident,” she says.
“I was nervous coming out here, but my next-door neighbour encouraged me to come out and do some art and it was a good experience.
“It makes me feel connected to the community and for the artists to bring it here and collaborate with us was good.”
For more information on Youth Foyers visit www.qld.gov.au/youthfoyers.