Whiddon Wee Waa residents are always up to something fun and they’re hoping to host an art exhibition once concerns relating to COVID-19 have eased.

Whiddon is collaborating with artist Jo Davidson and non-for-profit group Beyond Empathy to create a project called ‘Holding the past, Handling the future’.

The project was started before COVID-19 restrictions were in place and it’s hoped it can continue in the future.

Jo has made plaster casts of resident’s hands while recording conversations and encouraging them to share stories.

“Hands tell the story of the life of a person. I talk to people about what they’ve done during their lives,” said Jo.

In the case of Bill Towns, Jo spoke with him about using his hands to work as a shearer around the district. Mr Towns even delivered a yodel during the casting and kept residents and staff entertained with his tales.

Some family members, including Una Galvin and her great-granddaughter Olivia Avery, held hands for their plaster castings creating a very special and memorable mould.

Once the process of casting is complete, the moulds will be painted and decorated for display later this year.

Jo said the project is about encouraging conversation and connection. Beyond Empathy works with
communities across Australia to generate positive social change through the process of creating and sharing art.

“This was a unique experience for our residents,” said Whiddon Wee Waa’s recreational activities officer Liz Berger.

“Most had never seen anything like this before and were keen to have a cast made of their hands. We’re hoping that as the sessions continue, all our residents will have a hand mould to treasure.

“We are looking forward to painting and showing our precious artworks to family and friends,” said Liz Berger.

These images were taken before COVID-19 restrictions.

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