Rebecca Mayo – Embracing the Familiar – a community arts project

Tuggeranong Arts Centre
Ongoing with an exhibition in 2021

Embracing the familiar by Rebecca Mayo is a community participation arts project that responds to some of the challenges that have faced the ACT region and the world since late 2019.

Barbie speaks with Rebecca Mayo about Embracing the Familiar

With the help of the TAC community, Rebecca Mayo will develop a new iteration of a 2017 project held in Tamworth, A Cure for Plant Blindnessthat invited locals to take a rubbing around the girth of a tree they love and to share the story of that tree.

Since late 2019 the Canberra region has all been impacted by bushfires, associated smoke haze, damaging hailstorms and now the Covid-19 global pandemic. While the long-term effects of this situation are not clear, we are all staying close to home. Walking local streets and parks has replaced organised sport, visits to the skate-park or local pool.

Embracing the Familiar asks the community what comfort might be found in this enforced turning inwards. Has this slower paced, looped walking (where we set off to get out of the house, rather than to reach a physical destination) allowed us to pay a new kind of attention to our neighbourhoods and what grows there?

This work involves rubbings of trees and the stories of why people love them, or how they have come to notice them anew during the extraordinary recent events.

The tree rubbings that have been provided by the community are in the process of being sent to Rebecca in her studio. Here she will use them, incorporating leaves and bark to create natural dye and will screen-print a scale textile version of the paper rubbing. An exhibition based on all of these elements is planned at Tuggeranong Arts Centre in 2021