Somali Refuge Weaving Project
Final Art work is is on permanent diaplay at Olympic Adult Education


Art and Environment Project for the Shire of The Yarra Ranges.

The aim of this project was to make connections with the land, the site, ritual, our own Identity and states of being with self and each other. A a structure was created for individuals to sit at and weave their story into it as they shared it with others. This project facilitated an exploration of ones own creativity and ability to contribute to a whole that was based on union and respect for differences. Through the act of twining together they part-took in a ritual. I sat in the site for 6 days creating the weaving welcoming passers-by to join in. Participants were encouraged to bring materials from their home to weave into the structure. A total of 5 ephemeral art projects ran concurrently working with different sectors of the community. These workshops and the Art and Environment festival initiated awareness for permanent public artworks which was installed soon after.

Cane, natural fibres and wool
2m x 2m

The Walk West Project is a program that was developed in response to a community request to reinstate cultural links between Geelong West and Western Beach on the shores of Corio Bay.

The expansion of Melbourne Road and removal of pedestrian access via the Madden Avenue rail crossing in the last 1970’s placed a major barrier between West Geelong and its favourite pleasure groups. Only the brave would use the pedestrian overpass and negotiate the busy arterial roads that separate suburb from sea.

During the mid 1990’s Greening Geelong West, a local community group, lobbied with a proposal to develop links that would define a safe walking route and an opportunity to re-establish the traditional recreational and cultural connects to the bay.

The Walk West urban trail reflects the intention of the Community proposal. O’Connell Street tree planting and the establishment of small parkland areas along the route have offered a greening opportunity to this highly urbanized area of the city. Fabulous sculptures that lead walkers along the trail tell a story of growth and change and relate directly to the production and sale of food, which is fundamental to the character of Geelong West.

The Walk West Project was jointly funded by the State Government of Victoria and the City of Greater Geelong.  The project outcome is an example of what is possible when communities identify opportunities and work with State Government to achieve positive outcomes.

Sculptures Define the Walking Trail.

Sculptures developed as part of the Walk West urban trail are the result of a creative collaboration between artist Tania Virgona and Mark Trinham. Giant metal blades that feature along the walking trail were created by Tania Virgona and make direct reference to the grass plant family. The important group of plants has provide all cultures with a basic food source, grain since the earliest of times.

The sculpture cluster on Ripley Lane was created by Mark Trinham and is an artistic interpretation the change from the natural state, represented by the seed, to the cultural condition where the natural environment and the human state are combined into one outcome.

At end of the trail Tania and Mark have contributed to collaborative installations of mixed timber and metal. The organic forms directly refer to growth and the emergence of change. Each piece is sited to encourage the public as they walk along Western Beach or Packington Street. The walking trail is intended to encourage the wider Geelong community at key points along the route and the sculptures at either end are an invitation to take the Walk West trail that links Packington Street to Corio Bay

Helena Buxton
Landscape Architect and Special ProjectsGeelong Council