Glen Reynolds - Illustrations
I received two commissions from the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for projects that were identified as important as tools to help counsellors working in the APY (Anangu Ptitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara) Lands. These are indigenous and traditional lands in the far north of South Australia, with townships and remote communities, with many issues that we all face - relationships and expectations.
The background to these commissions is quite a sweet story. My daughter (Asher) was a teacher at Ernabella School for three years. She was involved in music programs and general teaching. During one of my visits, she asked if I would take one of her classes and play with the concepts of illustration and cartooning. The class was very engaged in the process of drawing and story. The Anangu are very visual people, and drawing and use of image is a part of their culture and is a strong part of their lives. A counsellor working in the community asked if I would be interested in helping him develop some illustrations that could be used to help in counselling and helping youth in the community. When dealing with issues, the culture is such that an oblique approach is needed, and from that the projects developed.
A Poor Little Sad Child
The first commission involved the production of a 23 page booklet "A Poor Little Sad Child'. A counsellor on the Lands had identified a need to help children dealing with grief, specifically related to the death of a near relative or friend. Andrew Groome developed a story to assist children and adolecents, and wanted to create a resource that could be used by councellors.
The story involves a child bewildered by coping with the grief of the death of his mother. This was not an abstract story - a child had struggled with the death of his mother, and Andrew had constucted a story to help him. He saw that it could be of use to others in the community.
I created 32 illustrations to accompany the story, and then completed the layouts and arranged printing. The text is in both English and Pitjantjatjara.
I have been advised that the booklet has been successful for the originally intended purpose, but unexpenctedly is being used as a tool for the teaching of language in the bilingual communities where Pitjantjatjara is the first language and English is the second language.
Matt Pedlar from CAHMS identified that when counselling and dealing with the the youth throughout the APY Lands, it was essential not to confront them. When talking about problems it was safer to discuss problems in a general way. The concept of 'Story Cards' was developed. These would be illustrations depicting issues of intimidation, isolation, domestic violence, and relationship issues. The cards could be used to lead conversation without any perceived confrontation. I created 16 story cards, arranged printing of the sets and had them laminated.