Windows of the World, Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia

In September 2009, I was invited to take part in an event called Windows of the World in Melbourne, Australia.  It was organised by the Global Dialogue Foundation and Bumblebee Creative Social Enterprises.

As the goodwill ambassador for The Sage Foundation (part of the Clinton Global Initiative), I presented a number of rugs – handmade by the children of Sage villages in India – to children of the Strathewen School whose town was mostly destroyed by the bushfires in early 2009. This was a collaboration with the children of Strathewen as they had designed the rugs as their vision for redevelopment of the future.

It astounded me as to how resilient this community was. Their whole town was ravaged by these fires, lives of close friends were lost and yet they were amazingly positive about building a new future.

This made me think of how I could get West Grove Primary School in Southgate, where my daughter was a pupil, involved.  I proposed that four pupils from West Grove, including my daughter, created paintings that I could take to Melbourne and present them to the pupils in Strathewen for their new school which was being built.

West Grove were very excited to be a part of this and I promised to do a school assembly with all the details of the event in Melbourne once I got back.  I had the pupils over to my studio in Enfield where they each created their paintings.

Then my husband surprised me with the news that he and my daughter were going to come over to Melbourne too, which meant that my daughter could do the presentation herself at the Windows of the World event.

I got to Melbourne a few days before my husband and daughter to prepare for the event.  Within a few hours of arriving in Melbourne, my daughter was on stage with me presenting the paintings. She was such a trooper as she was only 8yrs old at the time.

The range of events during the day was amazing: dancing groups, singing, art exhibitions and many more exciting performances.  It was very well attended – thousands of people had come during the three-day function.

Windows of the World was held in Federation Square (which is the equivalent of Trafalgar Square in London) and was a great success. It got a lot of really important initiatives going and set the scene for projects that are still going on today.

Bumblebee asked if I would donate one of my paintings to auction to raise funds and I was honoured to be a part of such an amazing organization that has helped a lot of people in need.