Thumbs up for diversity

Thursday, Aug 23, 2018

Residents of Eldercare Evanston Park, together with family and staff members, have created a work of art that celebrates diversity and inclusion.

Eldercare Lifestyle Coordinator Lee-Anne Chenoweth said the response to the work has been ‘wonderfully positive’.

“The Family Tree was created to encourage inclusion, create a conversation and show people what was in their hearts,” said Lee-Anne.

“This artwork is the result of lots of thought and lots of love and we wanted it to be a showcase for the residents here.”

Joy Usher, who has been an Eldercare volunteer for six years, invited residents to participate in the project and guided them through making their thumbprints to create the final artwork.

Joy said the tree represents ‘the precious gift of life’.

“Every leaf on the tree holds the thumbprint of a resident, family member or staff member at Eldercare Evanston Park,” said Joy.

“The story of a tree is the story of life because no two leaves on a tree are the same just as no two lives are identical.

“Every resident at Evanston Park is welcomed with joy and promised a place on our family tree regardless of their relationship preferences, their religion or cultural background – there is space for everyone on our tree.”

Joy explained that every aspect of the Family Tree artwork has meaning behind it.

“The wide girth and solid trunk shows the markings of age and its roots have supported a lifetime of wild seasons, hard knocks and natural disasters.”

Nothing from the tree was discarded.

The cloth that was used to wipe away the paint even became a work of art in its own right.

Volunteer Yvonne Chapman created the words ‘thumbs up for diversity’ from the blue felt and the cloth was framed to help explain how the Family Tree originated.

Eldercare is committed to supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender diverse and intersex residents, staff and volunteers and is in the process of seeking Rainbow Tick accreditation through its ElderPRIDE Project.

Consumer Engagement Coordinator and ElderPRIDE committee member Christine Morris, endorsed the artwork and the spirit of inclusion it represented.

“This artwork demonstrates to residents, families, staff, volunteers and the broader community that Eldercare embraces diversity and welcomes all people regardless of cultural background, faith, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The artwork will be entered in to the Gawler Show at the end of August before returning to Evanston Park where it will be enjoyed permanently by residents and visitors.

Update: The Family Tree was awarded first place for ‘Any Group Article’ at the Gawler Show on Friday 24 August 2018.

Image: Eldercare Evanston Park Lifestyle Coordinator Lee-Anne Chenoweth and Evanston Park volunteer Joy Usher with the Family Tree.