Turning Diverse Memories Into Public Art, a Visual Archive of Personal Stories

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Di Mauro, Sam
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Beijing Foreign Studies University


Based on the creation of a public art work (River Reflections, 1998-1999) in celebration of the ethnic diversity of the town of Innisfail, a town which can truly be claimed as one of the founding centres of multicultural diversity in Queensland (48 different languages spoken in the district). This paper discusses and illustrates the significance of community consultation in the creation of public art to inclusively reflect the culture of place. The aim of the artwork was to depict the district's history, resources, ethnic and multicultural diversity, and ultimately communicate the marriage of oral histories translated through both image and text. Exhaustive research time was spent collecting stories from more than a hundred local past and present residents by visiting church groups, private homes, service groups and clubs. They communicated stories about their culture and identified what they felt was most appropriate to record for posterity, what symbol or icon would best represent their ethnic group/culture in Innisfail. The paper will discuss how this information was gathered from members of the community and how the community was informed throughout the process and in turn how the information was processed into the artwork. This project provided Johnstone Shire Cultural Association with the opportunity and resources to engage a broad section of the local community from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds to work together in documenting their past in a durable and public art space and becomes a "link between art, history, community and the environment."

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Turning Diverse Memories Into Public Art, a Visual Archive of Personal Stories

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Visual Arts and Crafts not elsewhere classified

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