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Rising star artists showcase aged care residents in their submissions to Young Archie

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In the lead up to the Australia’s annual Young Archibald Prize, children all over the country are putting pens to paper in an opportunity to showcase their artistic talent in the world-renowned contest.  

And while some children focus their drawings on family members, friends or even self-portraits, the students of Mayfield West After School Care have found inspiration in a more unusual avenue – the residents of Charles O’Neill Hostel’s MHACPI unit. 

The Mental Health Aged Care Partnership Initiative (MHACPI) Transition Unit is focused on older persons who experience enduring and serious mental illness, and supporting them to re-establish their lives in the community. 

Students of the local Out Of School Hours (OOSH) care visited the MHACPI residents Thursday afternoon, where they sat with their chosen models for a brief time to learn about their lives, before the sketching commenced. 

The students then started drawing, and rather than focusing on present aesthetics, drew inspiration from the residents’ former lives and “drew them as they saw them”. 

Some of the pictures feature the residents as their younger selves, such as long-term resident Rosalind who was sketched as a teacher – her profession in her younger years. 

Miriam Mutasa, Charles O’Neill Residential Aged Care Manager, says the residents enjoyed the interaction with the students “just as much” as the children enjoyed drawing them. 

“I think that all of the residents really enjoyed the 1:1 attention from the children,” she says. 

“We would love to develop a combined intergenerational art program in the long-term, now that we’ve seen how successful it can be.”

The students are now finalising their drawings and paperwork to submit to the prize to Art Gallery New South Wales before the cut-off date of 11 March, 2018. The finalists for the competition will be announced 3 May, 2018.