Throughout the past few months, selected students from Year 9 Newman were invited to participate in a social justice initiative organised by students from UNSW. The program, called ‘Mosaic Mentoring’, was an opportunity for us girls to critically think about contemporary issues in society. With the help of UNSW students, we split into two groups and created a major work which was presented at an exhibition night in which we showcased our work and learnt about the major works of other participants. The program was an eye opening experience; we were challenged to express our individual opinions about sensitive topics, which allowed us to be inspired about the ideas behind our major works. We had an enjoyable time and encourage all students to participate in this wonderful program in the years to come.
Luana Rendina & Bianca Pilla
The first group consisted of Bianca Pilla, Liana Lan, Alyssa Zappia and Sienna Williams. The overriding issue displayed was poverty, and in the form of a sketch, scattered over 4 canvases, we wanted to bring awareness to the fact that poverty is a relevant contemporary issue affecting the global community. Poverty affects around 1.3 billion people worldwide. Society needs to understand and acknowledge that people suffering from poverty have experienced great hardships which has lead up to their current state and they should be treated with the same respect and dignity as any other person. Our first canvas depicts a young boy, one who has experienced abject poverty. The ‘fence’ which spans all four canvases, is a visual representation of the fact that everything is connected, giving the impression of a series of catalytic events which lead to poverty and destitution. It also acts to show the ‘imprisonment’ that poverty-stricken individuals often feel because they are ‘trapped’ by their dire circumstances. The words scattered over the 4 canvases suggests reasons as to what he is feeling, emotionally and spiritually.
The second group consisted of Luana Rendina, Jennessa Fong, Katrina Martinez, Ayva Palmer, Mia Palmer and Kelly Nguyen. Our group chose ‘stereotypes’ as the overriding topic as all members of our group suffer from being stereotyped in day to day life. Generated by the media, stereotypes play a major role in the dehumanisation of us, as individuals. Through the creation of a burn book, our group was able to successfully portray stereotypes and the impacts of removing stereotypes, using contemporary examples based on different ethnic groups, people of varying socioeconomic status and specific personality traits. Through the book, it is made explicitly evident that stereotypes do not portray an individual’s characteristics, but is rather society’s way of dictating to us how to act, speak and think. The book highlights how we can all, as individuals, break away from these stereotypes. It teaches us to not judge others based on their appearance, but rather their disposition. I’m sure everyone in this room has been stereotyped at least once in their life, so please take some time to check out our book and consider the impact of stereotypes of not only ourselves, but of those around us.