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The Artist's Story
14 Jul 2014
Published To

The women of Redfern like doing art. But Paula Lee from Vietnam said, “when I was little our parents, they were very conservative. They didn’t let us play any hobbies, like painting or singing, or dancing...but when I come here I think that is not true, you can also follow your heartbeat. You can enjoy life at the same time as studying.”

Paula is part of a group of women who do painting together. However, she isn’t a professional artist. She likes taking part in the group because it’s a way of making friends and connecting to the community. The other women include Dot, Jill, Janet, and Ellie who is the coordinator.

Jill is 61 and she has an Aboriginal grandmother. She is an Aboriginal women of Redfern, her tribe is the Warrimoo, and her contact with Redfern and the inner city goes back a long way.

When they were kids they were running around on the street in the old Redfern without shoes. Back then there were only a few cars and lots of carts pulled by horses. Dot remembers, “we’d all wait to get on the back of the horse and cart…then we’d have to get off and the next lot would get on.”

The women say that Redfern has changed a lot however it’s still a really nice place to live. “I love the people and I love my area because it’s so accepting of people from different backgrounds and from different walks of life. I love the way people will say to you how they feel, they don’t hold things back and most people in this area, whether they have a disability, whether it’s mental health, physical health or just being in poverty, they tend to be very honest and accepting and very good as far as you think of community people.”

Dogs are also very welcome in the art class. Janet has been in Redfern for 26 years and she loves it here. Her dog is three months and three weeks old. His name is Vincent and he’s a pug. Janet said, “I go back to the painting group because the ladies love to see him, not me, they love to see Vincent. I ended up in there with him.

By Akira

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