At our Willmot Community Hub in Western Sydney, up to a dozen Indigenous men have been gathering. Here, they paint canvases and Indigenous artifacts, and talk about their lives.
Delander Hayes, an Indigenous woman and coordinator of Jesuit Social Services’ Western Sydney programs, describes the classes as, “a therapeutic space – kind, soft and gentle”.
The classes offer a place where men who have led challenging lives can connect to culture and each other through artmaking. They enjoy the support of an Indigenous facilitator – Delander’s colleague, Leon – and a social worker. The idea came from the community.
“This is a part of Sydney where a lot of Indigenous people are disconnected from culture and identity in some way. A lot of nations were moved from their country lands to this area and displaced on missions. There are a lot of people from different mobs and tribes living here,” Delander explains. “People were saying they wanted to connect with community and get better at cultural painting. It was really driven by community.”