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Molly makes a difference

This term, Molly (Year 12) received the 2020 Wenona Alumnae Spirit Award for her outstanding fundraising efforts in support of last summer’s bushfires and the Black Lives Matter movement.

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When the east coast of Australia was devastated by bushfires during the summer of 2019 to 2020, Year 12 student, Molly watched in horror from Auckland, New Zealand, where she was on holiday with her family. “We watched Auckland’s sky turn bright orange from the blazes in Australia, even though they were over 2,000km away.”

Immediately, Molly knew she couldn’t stand idly by while out-of-control fires destroyed lives and livelihoods back home. As a talented artist – she is studying Visual Arts for her HSC this year and is just about to embark on her Body of Work – Molly decided to put her skills to good use. She reached out to her friends and contacts via her social media networks and asked people to commission her to draw an artwork of their choice, with all proceeds going directly to bushfire relief charities.

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“The prices were based on the size of the artworks,” says Molly. “I wanted to make them as affordable and appealing as possible to encourage more people to donate. I ended up raising $1,350 for three different bushfire relief charities. I was thrilled about this and I also learnt a lot from the experience.”

Along with her friend Anna, who is a student at a nearby Sydney school and a fellow artist, Molly went along to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest last year. It prompted them to think about how they could collaborate in order to contribute to a cause they both cared passionately about.

“We both love art and we’ve both been art-making for years. Rather than working for days – or even weeks – on one order at a time as I had previously done, we decided to capitalise on my original fundraising concept and create a series of exclusive prints. It was a much more time-effective way of seeking donations. We brainstormed ideas, before deciding to focus on six distinctive elements, which we felt were shaping the events playing out around the world: prejudice, silence, violence, complicity, corruption and privilege.”

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Molly and Anna got to work immediately, visually mapping out their ideas, before planning their artwork.

“My dad set up a tent for the two of us in the backyard,” explains Molly. “After we got home from the BLM protest, we spent the next few days and nights drawing. We’d work on a piece for a while, then swap iPads to edit our ideas. Once we were satisfied with our efforts, we decided to sell the prints online. We spent several hours on FaceTime, troubleshooting different issues that popped up with the website we were using and writing posts for our social media accounts so that we could promote our work. The project really took off after I spoke at the Wenona Principal Assembly in Term 4! We’ve now raised more than $1,200 for our chosen charities: Bridging the Gap Foundation for Indigenous Health and Education and Australian for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR), both of which provide invaluable services to the Indigenous community.

Director of Foundation and Community Engagement, Mrs Sonia Brennan said, “Molly is a very worthy recipient of the 2020 Wenona Alumnae Spirit Award. On behalf of the Wenona Alumnae Association and everyone here at Wenona, I’d like to congratulate her on her forethought, her creativity and her generosity in supporting these very worthwhile causes. It’s wonderful to see students like Molly living out the School motto of Ut Prosim, that I may serve. By taking the initiative to support issues she is passionate about, Molly has set a stellar example as to how we all can make a positive difference if we really put our minds to it.”

If you would like to find out more about Molly and Anna’s artworks, you can do so here.