‘Lost Children’, a Breaking the Cycle of homelessness fundraiser

Our recent Breaking the Cycle spin class fundraising event was a great opportunity to fundraise for YWCA’s homelessness programs…but what if a spin class isn’t for you?

There’s lots of other ways you can get involved and fundraise to support women experiencing homelessness – as demonstrated by artist Sonja Plitt. As a talented sculptor, Sonja decided to hold an art exhibition of all her sculptures, with sales of her artwork going towards YWCA programs addressing older women’s homelessness.

What inspired you to begin this project?

My sculptures were inspired by the stories of women in my family, and migrant and refugee women that I met through my friendship circles.

I heard and saw the difficulty these women faced in fitting in when coming to Australia but also in facing the challenges mothers face.

I named my collection ‘Lost Children’ in reverence to the survival narratives that were predominant in these women’s lives about the loss of their children in difficult circumstances with their children dying, being taken away or simply moving away. The theme of ‘Lost Children’ is broad in its context and encompasses the varied experiences of women and their children.

Why did you choose to present the artwork in this way? What influenced the colours and the medium used?

The colours are all pastel, representing the innocence and femininity of the pieces.

I wanted the pieces to be ambiguous and to showcase through their ambiguity, the different way the sculptures can be perceived.

The sticks inserted into the sculpture for example, are representative of the family tree. An individual might perceive the sticks as going into the sculpture, when in fact they’re actually coming out – it’s all about perception.

Difficult circumstances often cast women as the victim, but we know that those difficult circumstances can bring out a woman’s inner strength, it’s about how those difficulties are perceived and experienced.

The wooden base of the sculpture itself is also very special. The wood is from Tasmania, from a section of the coastline where due to erosion, trees fall from the cliffs into the water. The connection these women have with their children is like the wood, coming from the land, but torn apart by forces they cannot control.

Breaking the Cycle is fundraising this year for women experiencing homelessness – why did this cause touch your heart?

My family has experienced intergenerational homelessness during certain periods of life.

My grandmother was homeless for a time after escaping from a concentration camp in Germany, and her experience became part of her post-war story and was shared with my family.

Personally, I also experienced a period of homelessness in Melbourne many years ago. Through my employment outside of being an artist, I also interact with a lot of homeless women, so this is an issue very close to my heart.

Thank you so much to Sonja for her efforts in raising funds for our critical homelessness support programs! You can make a donation to Sonja’s fundraising page here. Or, if you love her stories and her art as much as we do, you can purchase one of her sculptures for a $100 donation. Visit Sonja’s fundraising page to find out more!

Interested in creating your own fundraiser? Maybe you want to hold a bake sale, or garage sale, or even a community trivia night? Set up your YWCA fundraising page or get in touch with us at comms@ywca.org.au to discuss your idea!

YWCA Australia wishes to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we work, live and play and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We recognise First Nations people as the custodians of the lands, seas and skies, with more than 60,000 years of wisdom, connection and relationship in caring for Country.

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