Dandelion Projects launches Veil of Wishes exhibition at Blacktown Max Webber Library

WALL OF WISHES: Artist Shirley Daborn, Monir Rowshan from the Blacktown Arts Centre and Naomi McCarthy at the launch of Veil of Wishes. Picture: Geoff Jones
WALL OF WISHES: Artist Shirley Daborn, Monir Rowshan from the Blacktown Arts Centre and Naomi McCarthy at the launch of Veil of Wishes. Picture: Geoff Jones

For Naomi McCarthy and Shirley Daborn, art means much more than transforming a blank slate into a masterpiece.

“Art is about telling stories and sharing thoughts. Through this expression we can connect and understand one another on a deeper platform,” Ms McCarthy said.

The artistic duo are co-founders of Dandelion Projects – a creative collective launched in 2014 – who are all about encouraging curiosity, creativity and being inclusive.

They were awarded the 2017 Pat Parker Memorial Residency from the Blacktown Arts Centre, which provides $5000 worth of funding for artists who focus primarily on engaging with Blacktown communities.

On December 11, the dynamic duo launched the Veil of Wishes, a project inviting people to contribute their personal aspiration and highlight how the dreams and wishes of individuals can be united to express often unspoken communal desires.

“The public art project draws on the blowing of dandelion clocks as a symbol of wishing that is ingrained in countless childhood memories, and is intended to draw people closer, to use creativity as a way to ignite and excite curiosity, engagement and exchange,” Ms Daborn said.

After months of collecting tissue-paper dandelions and secret wishes from community and education groups –including Blacktown West, Blacktown South, Werrington and St Patrick’s public schools, Nagle College, Jamison High School, SydWest Multicultural Services, Blacktown Women’s and Girls’ Health Centre and AIME – the Veil of Wishes brings more than 2000 bright yellow dandelions to Blacktown’s Max Webber Library.

“The secret wishes will become a digital text-based component that will anonymously share the wishes, dreams and desires of project participants,” Ms Daborn said.

Ms McCarthy, an artist, writer, educator and creative producer, said ever since the late 90s she has had a very strong desire to contribute to the larger creative storytelling of the community.

“Dandelion Projects are very inclusive. We have a good ear to listen to the truth of peoples’ stories. We are very vulnerable and invested in those conversations,” Ms McCarthy said.

“I often imagine, especially just on dusk as the day is drawing to a close, a bubble of yearning gathering in the sky over the suburbs. In this project, we have gathered and shared the yearnings of people who live predominantly in the Blacktown district but also greater western Sydney.

“We are using the symbolism of the dandelion because, while considered a weed by some, a dandelion has the ability, with just a teaspoon of soil and a drop of rain, to pop up practically anywhere, resilient and cheerful - we love that about them.”

  • The Veil of Wishes is on exhibition until mid-January at Max Webber Library, Flushcombe Rd and Alpha St, Blacktown. 

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