Refugee Week Symposium and Art Engagement Project Launch

20 June 2018 | General Interest

On Wednesday June 20, members of the Thomas Carr College community gathered together to celebrate Refugee Week with a Symposium and Art Engagement Project Launch. The celebrations began with the acknowledgment of the land followed by a prayer from College Liturgy Captain, Kerry Wang. Guests then shared in a multicultural lunch together before the launch began.

This year, Thomas Carr College has been successful in obtaining an ‘Identity, Inclusion and Connection’ Grant from the Wyndham City Council to fund an Art Engagement Project. The project will involve a local Western Suburbs artist mentoring the students in the development of two mosaic artworks. One to be installed at the College, and a smaller mosaic paver to be installed in a local park in the Tarneit area. Both mosaics, when completed, will promote messages of inclusion and welcome to people of refugee background living in the city of Wyndham.

At the project launch, the final design for the larger mosaic was unveiled. The inspiration of this design came originally from a Year 9 student at the College. Her design has been developed further by artist Julie Stevens, after consultation with the New Hope Foundation and some of our parents of refugee background.

Dr Andrew Watson, Liturgy Captain Kerry Wang and Nichola Wright from the Wyndham City Council joined together to break tiles that will be used in the final mosaic artworks. Once completed, the mosaic will be permanently displayed on an exterior wall of the College and will act as an ongoing symbol to staff, parents, and other stakeholders of the welcoming of refugees into our community.

In addition to this, Thomas Carr College teacher, Mr Hoang Vu stood up and shared his personal experiences of being a refugee. Mr Vu travelled to Australia from Vietnam with his father and mother who was 8 months pregnant via boat when he was just 2 years old with 50 others from his village. After the boats engine failed on the 3rd day of travelling, Mr Vu’s family could do nothing but wait for a miracle. After several days of drifting across the South China Sea, a cargo ship picked up all survivors on board and took them to Malaysia. Here his mother gave birth to his little sister inside the refugee camp where they stayed for over a year. Eventually, Mr Vu’s family was fortunate enough to be sponsored by an Australian family living in Melbourne. By the mid 1980’s Mr Vu’s family was flown over to Australia where they began their new life.

A truly inspirational story that was appreciated by all staff, students and special guests present at the Refugee Week celebrations.