Belonging Through Play

“My youngest daughter Aysha lives for connection, to contribute and to belong, she radiates love with a full spirit that does not discriminate to whom it is offered to, Aysha has Down Syndrome. If Aysha was born in or around the 1950’s I would have been advised to hand her over to the state at birth… lucky for Aysha and our family she was born in 2010 when the words I was given were ‘she is beautiful, take her home and love her as you already do’ ”.

Historically it was common practice to isolate, hide and institutionalize children with disabilities. Through recognizing the importance of social connection regardless of ability, race, age, class, gender and religion, society now works to improve all people’s experience of the world. The Peel community proactively target social accessibility.

Peel; Belonging through play is a series of prints combing photography, solvent transfer and charcoal drawing which document this progressive thinking and action within our community and allows these kids to be just that… kids!

The Fearnall family chose to purchase a holiday home in Mandurah because of the facilities and in summer they come most weekends. “The foreshore is fantastic for Nate as he gets all of his favourite things in one place- lots of safe even paths to use his frame on, people, swings, slides, and lots of boats and cars going past to watch. Nate has a way of drawing people in adults and kids alike, children often playing with him on his walking frame.” Mrs Fearnall.

Cooper is a Mandurah local at star fish nippers, a progressive sports club which continues to set precedents of excellence inclusivity and accessibility. “When the kids are in the water there is no disability, they are part of a club who are all working together on a common goal… the kids are included with all of the other nippers and their smiles are just as big.”  Mrs Radcliffe.

Alana Grant is a cross disciplinary artist whose work is influenced by the desire for connection and the pursuit of finding brighter, healthier and more sustainable ways to live life. As an artist and community art facilitator, Grant actively advocates for environmental and social justice campaigns,

PHOTO CREDIT: Ross De Hoog and Lyn Nixon