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Aged Care mural to bear fruit of good conversation

Aged Care mural to bear fruit of good conversation

Aged Care mural to bear fruit of good conversation

8 December 2021

Toowoomba artist Erica Paynter works on her mural at Riverview Gardens Aged Care Centre, which is to reflect seasonal changes and other themes of celebration and culture.

By Darryl Whitecross

An interactive mural of a tree has been painted on a wall near the entrance to the Army’s Riverview Gardens Aged Care Centre, west of Brisbane, as a conversation starter and connection point between residents, staff, families, and visitors.

In full bloom: (from left) Riverview Gardens Aged Care Centre Diversional Therapist Penny Palmer, Centre Director of Mission and Chaplain Major Rowena Smith, and artist Erica Paynter with the completed Community Tree.

Major Rowena Smith, Director of Mission and Chaplain at the centre, said Toowoomba artist Erica Paynter was commissioned to paint the 5m x 3m Community Tree mural.

Rowena said the tree would change regularly throughout the year with the addition of photographs, quotes, leaves, flowers, butterflies, birds, and snowflakes, reflecting seasonal changes and other themes of celebration and culture.

Erica, who has worked with Rowena on other Women’s Ministries projects in the Queensland Division, said the mural was completed using acrylic paint and designed to be minimalist in the branches and foliage to enable the various themes to change and take centre stage. She said she was “happy to put the vision [of the centre] into reality”.

Penny Palmer, Diversional Therapist at the centre, was instrumental in having the tree decorated with red poppies for the mural’s “first significant occasion” – Remembrance Day on 11 November.

Rowena said just as the seasons brought change to actual trees, the Community Tree would change regularly to celebrate events such as Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day and NAIDOC Week.

“The desire is that this will create a place where relationships can be strengthened,” Rowena said. “The residents love the artwork, and we are thrilled with how it looks and excited to see it in action now. We were so grateful to Erica who donated her time and materials at no cost to the centre to achieve this wonderful piece of art, which really enhances the living space for our residents.”

Riverview Gardens cares for clients in nursing home, hostel, and dementia unit facilities.

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