Painting a Better World

Emma Schauder wants to make the world better, one brush stroke at a time. And she wants to take a lot of people with her on the creative, justice journey. Emma has great faith in the power of art to make a difference and a group of 12 year old girls and their parents recently confirmed her belief. The girls, all part of the Twelve Batmitzvah Program, a volunteering program for Jewish girls in preparation for their Batmitzvah, recently helped Emma create a mural for the wall of one of our houses.

The mural, featuring the charming image of Emma’s character, McAuley Rose, surrounded by notes of encouragement from the girls, continues a rich relationship between McAuley Community Services for Women, Emma and the Twelve Batmitzvah Program. Last year a group of girls and their parents held a working bee at McAuley House where they helped create a lovely garden space and cooked food for the staff and women at the house.

Last year Emma generously decided to use her artistic talents to create a set of greeting cards for McAuley Community Services for Women. She has drawn her inspiration from the stories she has heard about the women supported by our organisation, as well as from children’s storybook illustrations and other texts.

Emma named the woman on the cards, McAuley Rose and she appears again in the vibrant and inspiring mural. “She’s vibrant, colourful and whimsical in style and full of hope,” Emma said.

Emma painted the mural for the safe house and the 30 Twelve Batmitzvah Program girls and their parents came to Kensington Neighbourhood House to find out more about McAuley Community Services for Women from CEO Jocelyn Bignold and to add their own creative touch to the mural.

“The girls preparing for Batmitzvah are on the threshold of womanhood and so for them to have been part of creating something for other women, including young women, is really important. The image of McAuley Rose in the mural is comforted and safe and she is hopeful,” Emma said.

“McAuley Rose is also looking into a mirror which is an important feature of the work. I wanted the girls who worked with me, and all women who will see this mural, to see that the mirror is about looking into ourselves and remembering that we are all of great worth,” Emma said.

Each girl was given a flower to decorate and to attach a note written after discussing the issue with their mum or dad. The vibrant flowers were then attached to the top of the mural, which is called Safe and Comforted at Last.

Emma did not sign the work, seeing it as collaboration between her and the Batmitzvah girls.