A group of 13 refugee pupils from Bossley Park Public School are proof that art speaks all languages.
Sibastiyan, Kabreel, Fadi, Awitar, Andryan M, Andryan E, Afram, Isho, Yousif, Hadi, Meron, Mooryan and Fredi were chosen to participate in a six-session program which culminated in the painting of a bright mural with the school’s motto “Tolerance” the focal point.
The project was made possible through the Australian Numeracy and Literacy Foundation’s (ANLF) Refugee Action Support Program which is dedicated to raising language, literacy and numeracy standards in Australia.
ANLF Art for Literacy Director Michael Laverty and Kiama artist Mikey Freedom engaged the group of boys in art and literacy activities which assisted students to grapple with the language and literacy demands they encounter in the classroom. Many also said that this was the first time they had painted.
EALD (English as an Additional Language or Dialect) teacher, Laura DiMarzio, who frequently engages new arrivals with art to learn English, said: “It was wonderful to see the boys expressing themselves through art and language despite their linguistic limitations. The smiles on their faces and the confidence exuded by the boys is why I love teaching these kids.”
The shapes for the mural were all compiled from individual works of abstract art that the boys worked on during the sessions. They learnt about abstract form and shapes and dissected words to investigate how they are made.
“The mural is fantastic because it has a little art work from everyone in it,” year 5 pupil Isho said.
The ANLF is also running a Refugee Action Support Program for girls at the school, engaging them in dance to develop language and literacy.