The Project was planned for second term. The workshops were run over a four day period.
The students were introduced to the Totemic Pole project by a workbook developed by Cleveland Education and Training staff. Through these activities the students explored and researched the symbolic meaning and cultural values associated with totem poles from different countries as well as their own cultures.
The students were then introduced to the artist in residence, Catherine Parker who assisted in the further development of concepts for personal totems, then finally the design and construction of the totem poles.
Acrylic paints, found objects and the humble PVC plumbing pipe were used to create individual and collaborative totem poles that reflected images important to the students. The boys approached the project with great enthusiasm often negotiating more time in the workshops to complete their work. Some students stayed in the program to offer peer support to others participants.
Staff from Cleveland Education and Training Centre and from the Cleveland Youth Detention Centre joined with the students to enjoy the creative experience. The finished totems are site specific and will be installed as garden sculptures as part of a landscaping project currently in progress. They were included in the NAIDOC display in the foyer of the Centre in July.