The art trail that makes a difference at Seafarers

01 March 2021

Riverlee is proud to partner with The Royal Children’s Hospital UooUoo art trail in celebration of the hospital’s 150th anniversary. The art trail features 100 uniquely designed UooUoo sculptures scattered across Melbourne and Geelong, including one at our very own Seafarers display suite.

Our UooUoo, named FindYou by artist Vair Buchanan, features hundreds of individually painted children’s faces in a celebration of diversity and inclusivity. Vair has an interesting story, where she has gone full circle from working with sick children at the hospital as a social worker, to now giving back through her art.

What led your transition from social work to working as an artist and illustrator?

Art is something I need to make and always have done. I love telling stories through pictures, so illustration seemed a good avenue for me. I also love making public art as it is accessible and something that can reach people sometimes by accident, prompting feelings and reactions you can’t anticipate. I have always loved children’s responses to art and making art especially as it is often so honest and intrinsic. I hope that much of the art I create comes from the understanding of people that has developed through my study and practice of social work.

How do you feel about going from working directly with sick children and their families to becoming an artist for this initiative and children’s books more broadly?

I feel like supporting children and families directly and participating in Me and UooUoo are both ways I can help the RCH in the work it does and is also satisfying for me as well. I think what I have learned from children and their families about how they are inspired and their understanding of the world directly supports creating stories and illustrations for children.

What makes art and illustration for children so special?

Children’s thinking generally is bright and frank with the added ability to suspend suspicion and go along with adventure. These amazing abilities make them fabulous participants as observers and creators of art and illustration, I think.

Do you bring things that you have learnt from your time working at the hospital into your art – both FindYou and other work of yours?

Working in social work and within the hospital setting allowed me to develop an understanding of people’s different experiences and perspectives. People want to relate to their situation locally and more broadly. They seek these relatable things out. It helps people to understand themselves, others and the world around them. Children especially so.

Visit FindYou at Seafarers as part of the trail until 21 March to go in the running to win a private Yarra River boat cruise.

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