Looking Forward, Looking Back
In 1967 when my first child was born the local clinic 'paired' me with an Italian migrant mother to help her with her English.
Maria swung between misery at the loss of her home, family and culture, and the hopes of prosperity, health, education and jobs for her children.
The words which appear in the quilting are the sorts of words Maria wanted to know - the building blocks for everyday life. They run across the entire surface of the quilt in a new and shimmering surface - the need for a common language becomes of prime importance to our migrants.
As my family move across the water their image ripples into the surface of the water, as their influence will enrich Australia's society.
Only the woman with the baby clearly looks forward towards us, the onlookers. This is deliberate - most migrant families only migrate to provide a better life for their children.
The yellows of my quilt represent hope, the greys the sense of loss.
The boat implies a journey and symbolises the crossing of water.
It could be a new beginning, or the end of a previous way of life.
My family could be arriving in safe harbour in Australia - or leaving their first home.
It is sunrise - or sunset.
They are together, yet alone.
They are LOOKING FORWARD, or LOOKING BACK.