Uniting Care

 

You are invited to the next great Uniting Care event

“The Black Tie Dinner and Auction”

featuring art from ‘Under The Floorboards’

 Saturday 16th November, 2013

Bookings showell@ucare.org.au     or     5337 2770

My painting ‘Seasons Wendouree’ will be auctioned during this auspicious evening. The photos below tell the many stories within this 8 metre long painting.

My painting ‘Seasons Wendouree’  is a free-standing diptych, constructed from re-cycled floor-boards, painted on both sides, totaling a length of 8 metres x 2 metres high. The four panels reference four season – SPRING, SUMMER, AUTUMN, WINTER. Each season includes bird and plant life from Lake Wendouree, Ballarat as metaphor of the seasons of human experiencing that moves through the wintery dark-night-of-the-soul, to the new dawn of spring.

This theme was born from a series of Art Therapy / Art play-shops that I ran for a group of teenage girls that live within the supported residential service called Karrung (owned and operated by Uniting Care Ballarat)  All of these girls have come from backgrounds of homelessness. Some shared snippets of their life stories that included neglect, trauma and drug use. Spending time with these shy girls, I was struck by their eyes, the intonation in their voices, their vulnerability – like little baby birds. now held safe in the spring nest of Karrung.

The art sessions with these teenagers defined the theme “Phoenix Rising'”. The girls spray-painted vivid flame shapes on a sculpture (for their courtyard).

Click below to view a 2 minute YouTube clip of their beautiful process.

Video of ‘Phoenix Rising’ from Under the Floorboards

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ABC FM radio host Dominic Brine had a chat with me about this project

Interview audio in (mp3 file format)

As part of Uniting Care’s Under the Floorboards project, artist and art therapist Linda Franklin has spent a month at Karrung, a supported residence of apartments that provide safe housing for at-risk youth aged between 16 and 25.

To engage with the residents, Linda offered a series of art projects, and residents ultimately chose spray painting, so they could create a sculpture for Karrung’s garden and paintings for their own apartments.

“They engaged immediately and I found them to be self aware, they knew the role of art, and being summer holidays they were up for something to do.”
Linda began working with residents on a series of practice pieces that were inspired by events outside Karrung.

“It was the week of fires in the area and we worked on the theme of flames and then the phoenix rising from the flames.

“They’ve come up with very vibrant beautiful pieces for themselves with very bright colours and stenciling gum leaves, because they burn in a fire, along with spray painting a sculpture for their garden.”

Linda is impressed with how they’ve responded artistically.

“Young people know that art doesn’t need to be talked about, that it’s just something to do and it’s on their terms as I don’t try and push a conversation too early.”
As an art therapist, Linda understands how art affects people.

“The beautiful thing about art making is there’s a natural move into a right-brained experience, so it’s beyond language with colours, shapes and forms taking us into non-language communication and a natural engagement occurs.”

She says spray painting had a positive influence on the residents.

“Spray painting is such a fabulous, rebellious, direct and vivid experience, you give teenagers a spray can and they’re giggling and it’s a powerful experience and a powerful effect.”

Karrung is a state-of-the-art, architecturally-designed secure facility, which Linda thinks gives residents dignity in their lives.
“It’s secure and people from the outside can’t come in, but I was struck by how all the residents are studying at school, TAFE or University and there’s a lot of trust because the staff are very caring.”

Linda reflected on her residency and what she’d learnt.

“I learnt how fragile we all are, how fragile every family is, and how fragile every youth is, but when given an opportunity healing does occur and these teenagers are living proof.”

Apart from creating pieces for residents’ apartments and their garden, Linda is creating pieces for the Under the Floorboards exhibition from her studio, which is a former Wesleyan church in central Ballarat.

“I’m creating a series of paintings on recycled floorboards from Ballarat because they’re full of history and they’ll have a new life just as these young people are re-scripting their families histories.

“They’re only at Karrung for two years then they’ll leave the nest, so I’m working with the metaphor of birds, nests and transformation.”

Through Under the Floorboards, 12 artists will give an insight into Uniting Care Ballarat’s operations and the public will gain an understanding of the individuals, communities, and services it provides.

At completion of the residencies, a series of events beginning in October will be conducted to show its results, including exhibitions and performances from resident artists, with all money raised from the events and auctions going towards Uniting Care’s work.

Under the Floorboards is centred on the idea that art has the power to enrich the human soul.

Source:  http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/02/15/3691201.htm?site=ballarat

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Uniting Care Under the Floorboards Media Release 13 Jan 2013

Everyone’s journey is different, A red carpet is rolled out for some.

Whilst others trod under the floorboards, Away from the lights and the sun…
UnitingCare Ballarat’s unique project, Under the Floorboards, welcomes Linda Franklin as the fifth artist in residency at the agency, from 7 January 2013.

Linda is an artist, teacher and art therapist based in Ballarat and is the owner of South Street Art Studio. She will undertake her artist in residency at Karrung Youth Foyer, a residential facility for teenagers and will produce one large 3 paneled painting on recycled floorboards.

Under the Floorboards is a collaborative project in which renowned Western District artists will create works based on their experiences at one of the diverse programs provided by UnitingCare Ballarat. Ballarat Uniting Care has a unique connection with so many parts of the local community and the project will offer an insight into its operations and an understanding of the individuals, communities, many services it provides and the people it assists.

Linda said, “The vision (of this project) I have is to contribute by supporting philanthropic culture through the creation of powerful visual art made by workshop participants and myself. These artworks will visually and compassionately communicate the issues of the community in need and be worthy of investment”.

Linda Franklin has been a professional artist for over 25 years. She has completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Diploma of Art Therapy and Certificate 4 Training and Assessment. Her South Street Art Studio is a commercial multi-function art service that offers a variety of art classes and programs. Linda has worked extensively with clients referred by Community Service Providers.

At completion of the residencies a series of events beginning in October 2013 will be conducted to further raise awareness of the project and its results. At those events the residency artworks will be exhibited /performed, with resultant income from performances and associated auctions raised to support the work of UnitingCare Ballarat

The City of Ballarat Arts & Cultural Development is a project partner with UnitingCare Ballarat, extending opportunities for quality arts experiences to all members of the community and providing significant professional development opportunities to local & regional artists.

ABC Ballarat is the project media partner.

Project contact : Susan Howell 03 5337 2770, showell@ucare.org.au

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