Home News Artists-in-residence | Naomi McCarthy & Shirley Daborn

Artists-in-residence | Naomi McCarthy & Shirley Daborn

by Sanki Tennakoon

Naomi McCarthy and Shirley Daborn received the Pat Parker Memorial Residency in 2017 which provides funding for artists that focus primarily on engaging with Blacktown communities. Here’s what they have planned during their residency for their proposed project, Veil of Wishes.

Tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Naomi | I am deeply interested in bearing witness to people’s individual lives. I have an ear for the genuine and am drawn closer to people through quiet moments of authentic expression. Strangely, I am quite a noisy person, but I am also a careful listener, looking for the deeper truths being expressed.

Shirley | I have found great pleasure in working with people who don’t typically see themselves involved in the arts. For this project, it is the possibility of discovering something new, making surprising connections and being a catalyst for creative engagement that are motivating factors.

What is Dandelion Projects’ Veil of Wishes about?

Naomi & Shirley | This project sets out to collect and share the individual secret wishes, dreams and desires of people in the Blacktown community. The Veil of Wishes is a public art project funded through the Pat Parker Memorial Residency. This project will culminate in the creation of a substantial art installation made from tissue paper dandelions accompanied by a digital text-based component anonymously sharing the wishes of project participants.

Where did the idea for the project come from?

Naomi & Shirley | This project was born out of one of our many, many conversations and is intended to draw people closer, to use creativity as a way to ignite and excite curiosity, engagement and exchange. The blowing of dandelion clocks is a symbol of wishing that is ingrained in countless childhood memories.

Inviting people to contribute a dandelion, along with a secret wish, seemed a wonderful way of encouraging people to embrace the possibility that wishes are worth articulating whether they come true or not.

We don’t know what this project will reveal, perhaps the uniqueness of people’s secret wishes or perhaps the similarities. We are excited to have the opportunity, through the lens of art, to encounter, experience and consider lives other than our own.

How did you both meet and what sparked this collaboration?

Naomi & Shirley | We are long standing friends who love people, love art and love making things happen!

What is your process for gathering people’s wishes?

Naomi & Shirley | We will be inviting community and education groups to participate by making dandelions and submitting wishes. We will be distributing Veil of Wishes kits with everything needed to participate.

See our web site for more information www.dandelionprojects.com

What advice would you give your younger selves?

Naomi | Whatever you are doing in life, be wholly there. Be generous in your attitude to life, to yourself and to others. Resist judging and embrace feeling.

Shirley | Don’t be afraid of not knowing what you don’t know but instead channel the inner child, be curious and continue to ask questions. Just get started and let the ending take care of itself.

By Sanki Tennakoon

Naomi and Shirley are hosting a series of free dandelion-making workshops.
The paper flowers made by participants will form a large-scale collaborative artwork that will be assembled at Blacktown Arts Centre in December 2017.

Saturday, 30 September & Saturday, 7 October


Connect with Naomi and Shirley on their website.


Photo credit
Joshua Morris, 2017.

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