The Social Outfit's Community Print Project is an annual program designed to engage individuals from refugee and new migrant communities. Traditionally, the project aims to engage young people from these communities - working in partnership with high schools to deliver a series of collaborative art workshops that take place over 6-8 weeks, however this year was a little different.
Covid-related restrictions made it hard for The Social Outfit to get into schools, and in the process of looking for a community to engage, we were fortunate to be connected with a group of mothers from Westmead Public School, all of whom were new migrants in Australia. With the support of the Westmead Public School Community Hub, a group of 11 women - Khyati, Manjushree, Qhamar, Sejal, Nisha, Vasupradha, Sovita, Snehal, Shyamala, Shraddha and Shilpashree took part in a 6-week art workshops. And just like that, the Westmead Community Print Project was born!
The workshops were facilitated by artist Kate Banazi and creative designer Sonya Price-Kelly who helped guide the entire process. Artwork and motifs that emerged from the workshops were used to create a digital print and two screen-print designs.
Through the process, the group built a stronger community connection with creativity and collaboration serving as the vehicles for driving a greater sense of belonging, worth and pride for the women.
The focus of the Westmead Community Print Project was to provide a canvas with which this group of women could tell their own stories, the tales of their homes and their diverse cultural heritage and for it to be seen, heard and understood.
It leaned on the values of diversity, collective creativity and genuine collaboration to develop the women's creative voice and ultimately develop their contributions into a professional textile print and fashion collection that the women could feel truly encapsulated their own identity and was theirs. The process helped stoke an incredible sense of pride, value, and purpose that is critical to the settlement of refugees and new migrants in Australia.
The project resulted in three fabulous prints - the Katha print, the Nexus print and the Sejal's Curls print. You can shop all of the gorgeous prints here!
A huge thank you to all who helped turn this community print project into a reality, including Westmead Public School and the Community Hub, Kate Banazi, Sonya Price-Kelly and most importantly the incredible group of women who participated in the project.