Emerald’s mosaic message

Mary Farrow ,Jennifer Haines, Sioux Dollman and Donna Asling work on the community mosaic. 230136

By Taylah Eastwell

The Emerald and district community recently came together for a community mosaic project led by notable Yarra Ranges artist Sioux Dollman.

The public art project, created by Emerald Community House, involved creating a series of mosaic blocks that showcase community images and the words ‘we are one but we are many’.

The mosaic sheets will cascade down the stairs at the entrance to the Emerald Community House.

Emerald Community House Co-ordinator Mary Farrow said the thought of mosaicking the steps at the house has been in the works for a long time.

“There’s a lot of them, there are nine, so we thought we would put something on the risers,” she said.

“We were inspired by ‘we are one, we are many’ because it not only reflected the community effort but also the Victorian effort against Covid and that we have the power to change things and the outcome,” Ms Farrow said.

Ms Farrow said the concept of a public art project was “tricky” given Covid restrictions, but ended up “working a treat” at reconnecting the community.

“The whole point of it was to recover from the lack of connectedness. We were lucky with the latest restrictions being lifted it made it really easy to spread the tables out and follow our Covid safe plan,” she said.

Artist Ms Dollman mapped out the panels of cement sheeting to go on each step, while budding mosaic artists of all ages attended Emerald’s main street to place the coloured tiles in their perfect position.

Ms Farrow said “loads of families came” to take part in the project.

“People would come and go home and get their family and return. Some people with some real creative talent were able to put together some really creative images. We had the whole family there, even a three-year-old was there sticking down tiles,” Ms Farrow said.

The idea for the project stemmed from Ms Dollman’s work on the Warburton Steps mosaic, which inspired Emerald Community House to engage her expertise to work with locals and create a community art display in Emerald.

Members of the community were invited to contribute their own tiles in order to contribute some of their own memories of Covid-19, through using coloured stones, old tiles from renovations or ceramic pieces from broken china.

“When people participate they really feel like they are a part of something. We were getting people just walking by and some would stop and get caught up spending the next two hours mosaicking that they didn’t end up getting to the chemist or wherever they were going,” Ms Farrow laughed.

After being grouted the mosaics will serve as a great reminder of the strength of the local community when placed at the entrance to the community house.