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Josie Fantasia ‘va in Italia’ with clay pieces

Art is a medium through which people can document and share their story.

Josie a resident at Milpara was born in Squillani, Italy – a place she has fond memories of. By creating several ceramic pieces in Milpara’s art group, Josie’s memories of Squilani have recently been triggered.

Josie and her fellow art group members have developed a series of small ceramic villages and homes inspired by the theme “My Home”. These works will be displayed in Milpara’s café.

“The group’s art creations always start with a chat. The pieces we developed along this theme generated a lot of conversations about where we come from, grew up, raised our children. For me, it somehow took me back to that little church in Italy, where I had my first communion,” Josie explained.

“With this piece, I was able to talk about this place and my childhood with my children. This piece will be gifted to them and stay in the family for generations to come,” Josie added.

Bessie at ACH Group Milpara art class
Bessie has created a number of pieces that have been displayed at Milpara

Resident and artist Bessie Dickins added that thanks to a grant of the ACH Group Foundation for Older Australians, Milpara’s art group has a kiln on-site which has accommodated a growing enjoyment in creating with clay.

Bessie moved to ACH Group’s Milpara residential care home about four years ago and joined the art group straight away. She is visually impaired and also taps into her memories to create art.

“Instead of using my sight to copy something and create art, I work from pictures I have in my mind,” she said.

“Some of us look forward to attending the art group week after week. It means a lot to us. We encourage, support and challenge each other. We all try hard and work hard in the group. It comes from the heart and keeps us connected.”

Milpara is the home to one of many ACH Group’s Art in Focus Groups, which encourages older people to learn a new skill, engage in a new hobby or simply connect with like-minded people.

To learn more, visit https://achgroup.org.au/group-experience/art-in-focus/