Yamaji Art worked in partnership with local community initiative Yamaji Girl which had identified a need for a culturally appropriate service in Geraldton that worked toward empowering young Aboriginal women.
Discussion occurred around how arts and an arts therapy approach could be incorporated into the program and how using visual arts can aid in their connection to culture and overall emotional and social wellbeing. Given the ages of the participants we felt that this should be a peer led process so Yamaji Art encouraged our junior Gallery Assistant, Lily-mae Kerley, 17, to develop up a program that would suit. Lily-mae stepped in and structured a a project that would see the participants learn entry level arts skills specifically textiles and design.
Lily-mae applied for a bucket of money through the Country Arts WA’s -Yculture grant to get the much needed funds to have the project come to fruition. Lily-mae then planned a series of workshops that would be run weekly over 6-8 weeks. It was understood that not all girls would have arts experience or would be at the same level of skill as each other so the workshops where structured around small, achievable and results based activities. This was to make sure participants felt successful and having achieved something each and every week.
Lily-mae facilitated 8 arts classes that included up to 16 participants at a time. The program had young girls learning how to work safely together, create designs, lino cuts, silk dying, fabric dying, bleach reduction and hand crafted jewellery.
At the end of the program the participants would have designed and created their own outfits for a showcase. The participants managed to produce 16 metres of hand printed, painted and dyed fabric including cotton and silk.
The showcase was presented to the community at the local youth organisation, Geraldton Street work Aboriginal Corporation, where almost 100 members of the community and public turned out to see the results.
It was amazing to see all their had work pay off. The girls looked stunning in their hand crafted outfits. The self doubt they had at the begging was no where in sight on the night and their confidence in what they created shinned brightly!