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Living form a Suitcase - Art Project

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colouring memories
of Costa Rica

Colouring Memories of Costa Rica
Collective Painting by three Costa Rican women
Daisy Rios
Adriana Rios
Isabel Rios

Women involved in arts project

Kurri Community Centre
Painting and Writing Workshop
8th Dec 1999

Immigrant Women's Speakout Association, together with the Department for Women and the Migration Heritage Centre, identified the need to collect and document cultural material belonging to the various communities of our multicultural society and to recognise and preserve the important contribution made by women immigrants to this country.

The Arts Project Officer's role was to establish a connection with groups of women who were currently working in the fields of the arts and crafts or women who showed some interest in participating in the project, and initiated a discussion around the concepts of heritage, traditions and culture.

These groups contributed with material that reflected our cultural diversity: art objects, objects of worship and tradition (e.g. tapestries, paintings, ceramics, masks, dresses, etc, tangible objects or intangible objects: incorporating songs, dances and festivals that relate to their traditions, attitudes and experiences in Australia.

Material was gathered over a period of approximately four months.
The project was launched in Parramatta and travelled to Coffs Harbour and the Riverina


  1. To establish some rapport with the group in order to generate an open dialogue and collaborative interaction between its members.
  2. To discuss with the group concepts such as culture, heritage, identity, etc.
  3. To recognize the importance of traditions and cultural resources within our communities, society and self.
  4. To locate and focus on the various ways our own culture is expressed. (E.g.: dances, stories, food, craft, music, art, etc.)
  5. To identify those expressions of cultural background within us, members of our family and social and community groups.
  6. To investigate and bring (when possible) these cultural expressions/resources for the enrichment of the group and the general community.
  7. To promote continuity within the group in this exchange of cultural background/heritage.


Through participation/interaction: e.g., Group dynamics (brainstorming, etc), use of visual material (photographs, slides, etc.), games and theatre techniques to motivate group discussion.

Thanks to Cecelia Siilva for all her hard work and creativity on the project!

For a copy of the catalogue and information of borrowing or hiring the exhibition contact IWSA on 02 9635 8022