Mosaic of migrants

MIGRANT JOURNEY: Mosaic artist Scott Harrower with the new Italian monument.
MIGRANT JOURNEY: Mosaic artist Scott Harrower with the new Italian monument.

THE contribution of the Italian community to the region was recognised in the unveiling of a new memorial mosaic on the levy wall in Spinks Park last Friday.

Mosaic artist Scott Harrower said he was given the brief of capturing the story of the early migrants leaving Italy to come to the promised land.

"I had a clear brief - it was departure, arrival, settlement and celebration of culture ... and the harshness and hardships they faced and how they formed their own settlements and became part of the community and part of Lismore," Scott said.

He said the mosaic is made up of 25,000 hand-cut pieces of Venetian smalti - a glass from Italy manufactured for mosaics.

The scene depicts a ship leaving the mother country with the Italian flag and the famous "boot", followed by an expanse of blue to represent the ocean and then a series of images depicting the denuded hills that were transformed into banana farms.

The project has been several years in the making, with a dedicated committee of Italian women steering the project.

Ellie Gava has been the driving force behind it ("driving everybody mad," she laughed) and was delighted to see it come to fruition last week.

"I wanted to recognise the Italian migrants who came to Lismore and how hard they had to work to make a life for themselves here," Ellie said.

Lismore Regional Gallery director Brett Adlington said he was pleased to be able to help facilitate the project.

"He (Scott) has done many public art projects throughout Queensland, but this is his first public art project in Lismore, where he lives and works," he said.

Mr Adlington said the project was partly funded through the council's public art fund and along with Karla Dicken's mural Dreaming of a Koala Haven on the new Woolworths building in Goonellabah, public art was flourishing in Lismore at the moment.

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