A colourful artwork of larger than life cassowaries with chicks was ‘unveiled’ today at the Innisfail State College by Curtis Pitt, State Member for Mulgrave, as part of Queensland’s 150th Celebrations.

The Queensland Government granted the Peninsula Art Educators Committee at Cairns (teaching at Innisfail High School) $9,828 in Q150 Community Funding towards the creation of the artwork to commemorate the birth of Queensland in 1859.

“This is art in the heart of the Cassowary Coast community,” he said.

“The more than 50 students aged between 10 and 17 have flexed their artist talent to come up with their own personal expressions of art from realistic to abstract about the past and about the future.

“Their individual artistic expressions grace the front of the cassowary group while the back is a collage of materials from Brisbane’s Reverse Garbage outlet.

“This is individual artwork at its best to create a wonderful community collaborative artwork of how we view ourselves at this point in time, celebrating life in the Far North with a glimpse into the future

“Some of the young artists involved in the creation of this work under the watchful eye of artists and teachers Lou Micallef, Jenny Ahrens and Yvonne Hering have every chance of being around in the next 50 years when Queensland celebrates it’s bicentenary.

“I can just see them now telling the youngsters of how they were involved in this project all those years ago.

“In this year when we celebrate our people, our places and our stories, this flash of colour in our school grounds is a wonderful legacy for future generations, one they can relate to and say they had a hand in creating.”

The largest cassowary in the collection stands at 1.7m high. The collection will ultimately be permanently displayed in a new building, the Performing Arts Centre under construction, at the new Innisfail State College.

Yvonne Hering, project coordinator and art teacher at Innisfail State High School said that the students involved in the project were proud of their achievement.

“We wanted a celebratory project that brought the youth in the new amalgamated region together from as far south as Tully to as far north as Goondi,” she said.

“Innisfail is in the centre of our region and is a great place for the finished art work to be located.

“To get the concept going we took 25 students away to Echo Creek Adventure Camp for two days, showed them the cassowary form wood cut-outs and asked them to discuss what this project meant to them.

“We wanted it to be meaningful to them and representative of their individuality.

“In the next stage of the project’s development, 25 more students helped pull the project together

“They were all excited to be a part of it.”

“The end result is a colourful expression of the individuality of our youth brought together in one fascinating art work that visually records highlights of the past, the contemporary including the natural tropical beauty of this region, city life and snatches of the future.

“We are all very proud of it.”

2009 is Queensland’s 150th anniversary year of independence from New South Wales.

The Queensland Government’s $4 million Q150 Community Funding program offered grants between $2000 and $10,000 to communities to help them mark Queensland’s anniversary in ways that were meaningful to them.

There are more than 500 Q150 Community Funding activities and events around the State for Queenslanders to enjoy in 2009.