One of Griffith's newest residents wants to inspire community collaboration through a new art installation. Sydney graphic designer and artist Isis Ronan, who relocated to Griffith in December 2019, is co-ordinating a community lead project to build a giant wing mural to be displayed to the public from Christmas to New Year's Eve.
Anyone can contribute to the mural through designing their own feather art or sharing an uplifting message to the community and then handing it in to Neighbourhood House where it will be assembled in the installation. Mrs Ronan is hoping to encourage families to contribute together to the mural in order to facilitate family communication and sharing.
Creating art with family is something Mrs Ronan had to learn to do when she herself became a mother. Mrs Ronan was born in a Thai refugee camp after her parents fled Vietnam. She and her family migrated to Australia in 1989. Raised in Sydney with both parents working around the clock to provide for the small family, Mrs Ronan never experienced what it was like to have parents around to play and create with.
"I had to actually learn how to play with my son. When he was three months old, I went to a play group that taught you how to play with your kids," Mrs Ronan shared.
Remarkably, three years ago whilst enjoying her destination wedding in Vietnam with family, Mrs Ronan discovered that her family were in fact Cambodian refugees and not Vietnamese which she had assumed her whole life.
"For 30 years of my life I never had the opportunity to have this conversation with my parents. It was beautiful to discover the history behind my family story," Mrs Ronan said.
"I grew up not being connected to my culture and to my parents and I think it was hard being a kid and not knowing that about my identity."
This has been the inspiration behind Mrs Ronan's wing art project which she hopes will bring families together to open up and share about their family story whilst contributing up lifting messages of art to Griffith.
"I think it would be beautiful for families to sit together, talk about community and contribute something to the feathers or write up lifting messages to people who might need to hear it," Mrs Ronan said.
"It's been a really hard year for a lot of people. And I think art is a simple way of bringing the community together. Art is a universal language after all."
Mrs Ronan is also running art workshops in conjunction with the project which will be held starting 11 November at Neighbourhood House.
For more information about the project check out Mrs Ronan's Facebook page.