Monday, September 10, 2012

Mission Australia gets cool with esky art

A colourful collection of brightly painted eskies has taken over Mission Australia’s Youth Connections office in Malak.

The eskies were painted by students of the Yirrkala School in east Arnhem Land as part of the 2012 Darwin Fridge Festival, which launches next month.

The Festival, which celebrates the humble fridge and esky, also aims to empower and provide art to some of society’s most vulnerable people.

It’s the second year Mission Australia has teamed up with the quirky Festival and coordinated painting workshops in remote communities across the Top End.

Operations Manager Jillian Smith said the exercise builds on the good work of their Youth Connections team.

“The Festival is a great initiative and provides a fun way for our team to engage with and help kids who are at risk of dropping out of school,” Ms Smith said.

“The students who’ve participated in the workshops have loved them and really embraced the opportunity, which is a great success.”

As part of the remote workshops, the Fridge Festival in collaboration with Darwin Community Arts sent out professional artists including Janie Andrews and Marita Albers to inspire and mentor the young students.

“I think that’s been one of the highlights for both the students and the artists,” Ms Smith said.

This year the Festival has visited the Nhulunbuy, Yirrkala, Milingimbi and Maningrida with workshops to be held in Gunbalanya, the Tiwi Islands and Ngukurr next week.

The students’ work, which features Territory icons including crocodiles and sunsets and symbols of love and peace, will eventually join fridges and eskies painted by community groups, families and professionals at exhibitions across Darwin.

The works will be on display during October at venues including the Darwin International Airport, Malak Shopping Centre, Darwin Waterfront, Casuarina Shopping Centre and local schools and libraries.

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