Melbourne-based artist Serene Lau describes herself as an adventurer. Growing up in the jungles of Borneo is what fuelled her passion and love for exploring. But it was her obsession with all things animated that led her to her craft, and instead of using a camera to capture her adventures, Serene puts her spectacular illustration skills to use by putting pencil to paper, creating captivating illustrations to share her stories.
The next story Serene plans to explore is that of migration. And the humble pigeon will be there to help her along the way.
The common pigeon is everywhere, but are themselves immigrants, having been brought to Australia by early settlers hundreds of years ago. While often seen as a pest, pigeons can also represent a strong link to ‘home’, given their impressive homing abilities. During her November residency at Braybrook Community Hub, Serene will work with the local community to create a participatory illustrated art installation that creatively depicts and celebrates how Maribyrnong is home to the many people and cultures in our community.
From pigeons playing billiards and eating pho, to enjoying a walk along the Maribyrnong River and cheering on the Bulldogs, the installation will be populated with storytelling pigeons doing everyday things in west, created by the community.
“I chose to use the common pigeon as part of the residency and installation as they are everywhere! Because migration plays a big part in Maribyrnong’s current identity, I felt that pigeons were the perfect subject to explore this topic and the experiences of being an immigrant as pigeons are ‘immigrants’ themselves,” Serene said.
From 13-23 November, Serene will be inviting the community to participate in the creation of the art installation. With paper pigeons and mini bird-size accessories at the ready, visitors will be able to drop in and create their own Maribyrnong Pigeon to add to the art wall, along with a short story or greeting.
“The work will take the audience on an illustrated narrative journey that is packed with Maribyrnong’s culturally significant landmarks, nature and history,” Serene continued.
Serene’s residency at the Hub will culminate during Open Studios in the West, taking place throughout the City of Maribyrnong on 25 and 26 November. During the Open Studios weekend, the community is invited to add their own festival pigeon whilst they immerse themselves in the stories of how each of these pigeons travelled near and far to make Maribyrnong home.
“What I find the most beautiful about pigeons is that in certain cultures they are the symbol of home due to their ability to always find its way back to its roosting site. Using the pigeon in this project celebrates what Maribyrnong is to many of the participants – it is home.”
Head down to Braybrook Community Hub during Serene’s residency, or during the Open Studios in the West weekend, to take part in the project by adding your own pigeon to the art wall.
Residency – 30 October to 23 November, Open Studios in the West – 25 and 26 November. Visit maribyrnong.vic.gov.au/arts for further information.
Enjoy yourself and make the most of going behind the scenes of the creative hubs of local artists, performers, collectives and designers in the inner west! You never know what you’ll discover.