The Abi-Tanti hits the road

The Abi-Tanti is on the move.

One of the highlights of the Arts Learning Festival, the decorated wooden figures now have a temporary new home in the foyer of the Department of Education and Training in Treasury Place.

Red, blue and yellow wooden figures of the Abi-Tanti displayed in the Education Department foyer

The figures of the Abi-Tanti, meaning inhabitants, were created by students, teachers, families and the wider community at the Immigration Museum (see main image) during the festival, presented by Independent Schools Victoria.

Each figure is built from the same components configured in different ways.

Even though all share the common DNA of wood, their decorations of recycled materials help create a unique identity for each figure celebrating difference as well as shared meaning.

The Abi-Tanti has been created and installed through community collaboration in major European cities since 2000, providing an important space for reflection on the concepts of identity, transition and ways of belonging in a globalised community.

The original idea by Italian artist Manuela Corvino was developed as a community project by Anna Pironti, Head of Education Department at the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin, Italy.

Independent Schools Victoria brought the team from the Castello di Rivoli to Melbourne for the first time to facilitate workshops for the creation of this artwork.

The large collective that makes up the Abi-Tanti (both artists and objects) represent the importance of the group experience and the sharing and movement of ideas.

The inaugural Arts Learning Festival celebrated inclusive practice between all sectors of education through the arts, and was the perfect place for the Abi-tanti to find their first home in Australia.

The Abi-Tanti was installed on the steps of the Victorian Parliament at the end of the festival, and will be at the Department of Education and Training for several weeks.

There are plans to install the Abi-Tanti in more locations. Watch this space for details.

The Abi-Tanti flyer with the yellow, blue and red Abi-Tanti figures at then Education Department