‘Embracing Distance’ is a semi-finalist for the 2014 International Award for Public Art (IAPA).
This artwork is situated at the base of the North Melbourne Housing Towers.
This international award was established to increase visibility for public art internationally and is administered by the Institute for Public Art (based in Hong Kong) in collaboration with Forecast Public Art (USA) and Shanghai University (China).
The Institute for Public Art and Forecast Public Art reached out to artists, public art administrators, organisations, scholars, curators and aficionados around the world and received hundreds of suggestions for projects to be considered for the next award.
'Embracing Distance', is a distinctive project and forward thinking. Driven by Staff at North Melbourne Language and Learning who were risk taking, and committed to participation and engagement, Rosa was was eager to support this vision as the role and meaning of art-making to newly settled enable many individuals to first experience self-expression.
In August 2012, North Melbourne Language and Learning (NMLL) saw the completion of an extraordinary collaboration between Melbourne artist Rosa Tato and North Melbourne residents.
The “Embracing Distance” art project began with workshops where participants from over 16 different countries reflected on their thoughts and feelings on leaving their homeland and settling in Australia. Participants also brought in their precious items, patterned fabrics, clothing and jewelry that reflected their family and cultural heritage.
Rosa worked these personal stories, patterns and motifs into the design for a 35 metre long decorative sculptural installation. The work represents the unique history and cultural identity of the local residents, capturing and reflecting the feelings associated with settling into a new country.
Each main panel in the sculptural installation represents a different story and, like the experience of resettlement and migration, over time the look and feel of the panels look will change while the essence of what they are will stay the same.
The newly installed cast iron panels now form a welcoming entrance to North Melbourne Language and Learning as well as a prominent and beautiful feature on the Public Housing Estate.