The initial idea that led to the I AM sculpture was born back in 2015 at one of the monthly meetings for the Geelong and Bellarine Peer Action Group – VALiD (Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability). A few of the Peer Action Group (PAG) members made mention that, with the exception of a ‘pirate’, none of the iconic Geelong Waterfront bollards represented people with disability.
In response, the Bollard Sculptures project was formed to draw community attention to the ways in which people with disabilities are often left out or marginalised. The PAG members began to lobby for some new bollards to be publicly displayed.
PAG connected with ArtGusto and students from Geelong Baptist College and began work on the creation of four life-size wire and paper mâché sculptures, an example of what could be produced.
On December 3rd, 2017 these four art pieces were launched at International Day of Persons with Disability celebrations in Geelong by local MP Christine Couzens. PAG members lobbied for permanent bollards but were advised that since the passing of the late Jan Mitchell (the artist who created the bollard trail) the bollard collection is considered a closed collection. This created the opportunity to consider how a new project could be conceived and developed beyond the bollard trail. Work then progressed with the City of Greater Geelong Arts & Culture department to seek a State government grant to commission an iconic public artwork that celebrated the lives of people living with a disability.