Writing a New Story for
St Johns Park
Healing Ground was a community and arts led regeneration of St Johns Park from a place with a hidden history of incarceration, trauma and stigma to a place where community members are exploring how to thrive together in a way that values compassion, justice, connectedness, wellbeing and creativity.
The aim of this work is to begin the collective healing process on this trauma site, beginning with understanding and listening.
As Kickstart Arts raises funds to repair and repurpose former colonial orphanage buildings, we are inviting community to join together: to network weave new connections; to practice regenerative culture – creating gardens, growing food, exploring and sharing spirituality, physical healing practices, practising cultural respect for diversity, repurposing, learning and teaching new skills and making art, music and dance together.
Against this background, Healing Ground has been a community engaged conscious exploration of our collective histories on this site, beginning in 1833. Through research, artmaking and discussion, community members have been exploring their own stories of this iconic place and the issues it raises through making art, conversation and practising culture.
Which stories were never told?
Which stories were never acknowledged?
What can we learn from the past?
The Walkout Step
pakana (Tasmanian Aboriginal) elder and first time public artist Cheryl Mundy and sculptor Marcus Tatton are collaborating to create this art work from natural materials sourced from different parts of lutrawita country, steel and clear resin.
The artwork is under development and will be installed in the pavement at the front door of the former boys orphanage at St Johns Park, New Town, later in 2020.
The installation is a response to the reality that pakana children were incarcerated and suffered terribly in both the boys and girls colonial orphanages during the nineteenth century.
The artwork is, to use Cheryl’s words, “a dream from my heart and spirit to free the children out into their lands, rich with natural signs to direct them home.”
Cheryl’s concept is to bring the natural elements that were robbed from the Aboriginal children kept in the orphanage. Shells, sand, stones, leaves, kelp, reeds, charcoal... “our kids had to walk on foreign land and had foreign things under their feet.”
Artists: Cheryl Mundy & Marcus Tatton