Lara McCabe

Children and staff from Little Village Community Preschool, explored the use of clay at the Miller Artspace studio earlier this year. Jill Talbot, our Artist in Residence, noticed how quickly one educator, Nazneen created a tiny sculpture and encouraged her to take a piece of clay home to work on. Later that night, once Nazneen put her children to bed, she worked tirelessly on the sculpture until the early morning.


Nazneen who works as a trainee at Little Village Community Preschool, had not made sculptures for over 10 years when she participated in the workshop in late February. “I was surprised that after all these years I was able create the sculpture so quickly, but spent time altering parts of the artwork,” she said.

Having worked at the centre for the past 8 months as a trainee, it was clear to see that Nazneen’s journey with Art started many years ago. After finishing her HSC in the late 80s, Nazneen was put forward by local professional artists to attend the art college in hometown of Bangladesh.


“My father was a journalist and had many professional artist friends in the area who had seen me sketch and convinced him to let me attend the college,” she said.

Spending the next 3 years as a fine art student, Nazneen found her love for sculpting whilst at college watching and learning from students studying their Masters in Sculpting.

“Sculpting has always been a hobby since then and I often entered my work into local competitions both winning and selling to other famous artists,” she said.

In 1989, Nazneen left college when she got married, had her children shortly after and art took a back seat as she raised 3 boys and immigrated with her family to Australia. “I had no time to spare as one of my son’s had severe epilepsy, spending all my time looking after him and the other children,”

“A handful of times I had made sculptures as gifts, but the last time I focused on art in any form was when we first migrated to Australia,” she said.

The immigration services asked Nazneen and the others in her English language class to bring in a plate for a creative lesson they had planned with water colour paints. Nazneen was excited to be given the chance to paint and before the lesson worked diligently to complete her painting.

On the day of the class, the artwork had captured the attention of the class including her English teacher.

“Everyone was looking at my plate and I thought something must be wrong with it, until our teacher announced how beautiful my artwork was and I realised I was not in trouble,” she said.


Now that her children are grown up, Nazneen is keen to dedicate more time to art and incorporate it where she can with the children at Little Village Community Preschool.

Matt, the Director at Little Village, explained that since the workshop last month, Nazneen had really taken initiative to incorporate creativity into her work at the centre. “Nazneen is coming up with all sorts of innovative ideas for art lessons with the kids, which inspires all of us”.

We are grateful at Big Fat Smile to have amazing staff who bring creativity to their work every day. Thank you to Little Villlage and Nazneen for sharing her story.

by Eliza Burrell, Big Fat Smile HQ

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