All posts by Deborah Marinaro

Deborah is an arts writer and singer based in Melbourne. Among the many hats she wears these days, her top picks are theatre reviewer for the Melbourne Observer and creator & manager of the Liberation Arts Network. The network was realised as the perfect culmination of her passion for the Arts and for positive change. The act of starting the network is small, but the vision for its worth is big.

Bushdance for Pregnancy Loss Australia

Stringybach Music is holding a bushdance fundraiser featuring the Eat Ya Greens Bush band and violin, cello, and vocal performances by Stringybach music students. The event will raise funds for Pregnancy Loss Australia, a national support service program for families who have lost a baby or babies during pregnancy.

The bush dance will be held on 16 August from 2pm- 5pm at the Kilsyth Memorial Hall, 514 Mt Dandenong Rd, Kilsyth.

Tickets of $10 or $25 for families will be sold at the door. For bookings call Fiona 0425 714 105 or email stringybachmusic@gmail.com

Home Is Where My Heart Is Exhibition

A photographic exhibition, Home Is Where My Heart Is displays the work of youths who have experienced homelessness. The work presents their interpretations of ‘home’, providing insight into the lives of homeless youths in Western Australia.

The youths have been partnered with young and emerging photographers who guide and mentor them through the photographic process. The exhibition and sale of the work is the culmination of this four-month journey. All proceeds are fed back into the Home Is Where My Heart Is project.

Established in 2008, the project is the collaboration of the Youth Affairs Council of WA and Propel Youth Arts WA. This year, the exhibition coincides with National Homeless Persons Week.

Find details here

Art Displays Showing Hope for an HIV-free Generation

A weekend of pre-conference activities that marked the start of AIDS 2014 was about to begin when the shocking news of MH17 hit. While stories of the tragedy flood our media and muffle coverage of the conference itself, Liberation Arts Network turns its focus on two of the pre-conference initiatives that used art to reach out to the public and share information on an important, and often overlooked, subject.

 

We gathered in the cold on Friday night outside the Hamer Hall. It wasn’t just the Melbourne winter that chilled us; the day’s news had brought fresh sorrow to an already sobering event.

We were supposed to be celebrating. Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS, known as YEAH, was set to reveal their champion initiative: a digital art installation projected onto the façade of the Art Centre’s Hamer Hall that told the story of HIV today and the hopes for Australia’s first HIV-free generation.

The project would mark the start of the 20th International AIDS Conference, hosted this year by Melbourne, where thousands of scientists, activists, researchers, and key HIV advocates come together until July 25 to share knowledge and spread hope.

But sadly, several attendees of the conference were on their way to Melbourne via Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 that was shot down over Ukraine. The gathering turned from an uplifting look towards the future to a memorialisation of the key thinkers, activists, and fellow humans lost that day.

In an eloquent address to the crowd outside Hamer Hall, CEO and co-founder of YEAH, Alischa Ross, made a moving appeal.

“As tragedy heavies our hearts, so too does it offer the opportunity to strengthen our solidarity…and search deep in our collective humanity to hold hope for our future.”

Unperturbed in her determination, Ross pushed us to share that courage.

“Every life lost is one too many.”

“Our community strength and leadership is our resolve.”

To commemorate and acknowledge the lives affected by HIV today and in years gone, YEAH created Honouring the Past & Hope For the Future: Towards an HIV Free Generation, and projected it onto a cultural icon of Melbourne visible to many. Through a series of digital images, the installation featured original art created by artists from Melbourne and her six sister cities- Osaka, Tianjin, Thessaloniki, Boston, St Petersburg, and Milan- displayed proudly alongside visuals of panels crafted for the Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt.

Little more than a year ago, the idea to make this digital installation came to be. Ross was thinking about a way to reach out and “educate the public” and “positively inspire people to take action”. She decided to incorporate the work of the Memorial Quilt.

“I thought about how each one of these [quilt] panels is an artwork, and a dedication to a life,” she said.

Ross keenly understands what these panels mean for those who made them. A young woman now, she contributed her own quilt panel when she was 14 years old “to honour the life of my sister, who died so young, before treatments were even available.”

The Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt was officially launched on World AIDS Day, 1 December 1988 and gave birth to a strong motto: “See it and Understand”. Echoing this sentiment, Hope For The Future was punctuated with key ideas and statistics that were informative, moving, yet also encouraging, with contributions from local and international leaders. Barack Obama was quoted saying, “Our goal is no less than an HIV-free generation”.

HAMER HIVSTAT

Ross summed up their aim simply: “I hope, more than ever, the narrative we share tonight will engage the public…to recognise and understand the ongoing impact of HIV – here and around the world.”

 

Engaging the public through art didn’t stop there. Joining up with the AIDS 2014 Melbourne Youth Force, YEAH presented Legacy Street Art Project, where Youth Pre-conference participants could share their voice and leave their legacy in a mural painted along a public wall at the Queen Victoria Market.

Shortly after midday on Saturday, the young participants arrived at the Queen Street end of the Market and were greeted by spray paint and gear, as well as a stencil-framed, undercoated section of wall. But before painting could begin on the wall, participants designed and cut their stencils and a practice session was held.

The Legacy Street Art Project was funded by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. It stands as a symbol of the movement towards greater understanding and participation in discussions about HIV/AIDS and discrimination.

Hope For The Future

This weekend, the riverside façade of Melbourne’s Hamer Hall will host a public arts display that expresses a desire for an end to AIDS and hopes for a HIV-free generation. Incorporating images from the Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt and inspirational quotes from local and international leaders, the digital art projections will showcase new works created for this event by artists from Melbourne and her six sister cities: Osaka, Tianjin, Thessaloniki, Boston, St Petersburg, and Milan.

Curating this visual narrative is Australia’s only youth-led HIV and sexual health promotion organisation, Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS (YEAH).

Honouring the Past, Hope For The Future: Towards a HIV Free Generation

DATES/TIMES: July 18-21, dusk-midnight

WHERE: Riverside façade, Arts Centre’s Hamer Hall

Anything is Pozible

Crowdfunding platform Pozible will once again enable a valuable project get off the ground. Snap a Difference, by Sanjeev Singh, has raised funds well above his $6500 target a full three days before the funding portal closes. Singh needs this money to purchase photographic equipment for pro-bono work he will commence next month creating two publications for social enterprise STREAT. It’s this project that Pozible and the many who donated to Snap a Difference have made possible.

STREAT provide homeless youths with training and work experience for careers in the hospitality industry. They have grown over their four years of existence and now have cafes, catering and roasting businesses operating around the city. Singh, a self-taught photographer, will be creating a calendar and a children’s book for the group aimed at boosting funds for their training programs as well as raising their profile as a force for social change.

Singh’s work on the publications will commence July 2014. Liberation Arts Network wishes him all the best in this heartfelt endeavour and will be following his progress eagerly.

Oi Enuf! follow up

Congratulations to the team behind Oi Enuf! and the fantastic Melbourne talent that entertained for a great cause on Sunday 8 June. The event raised $1635 for the Fiona Joy Trust, a fund established for Fiona Warzywoda’s four children left behind after her murder on April 16th this year.

Sunday’s event attracted a modest but revved up crowd and some top quality musicians and performers including 4Tress, Joelistics, Bulk of Man, K-Mart Warriors, Marilyn Rose & the Thorns, Ruby Soho, & Liquor Snatch.

The event also got us talking about how much we need to respect each other and say ‘ENOUGH’ to violence!

Community says ‘Oi Enuf!’ to domestic violence

‘For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others’ Nelson Mandela

It’s Mandela’s mighty call to action that resounds, to me at least, in Nia’s more succinct plea that “we just need to stop being c*#ts to each other”. Nia is addressing the crowd in between music performances at her event Oi Enuf!, a fundraiser supporting the victims of a family violence crime which happened less than two months ago. On a small stage, accompanied by a clutter of sound and lighting equipment, she compels us to spread the sentiment for mutual respect and love for one another.

Few would not be touched by the story of a mother of four murdered outside her solicitor’s office just after attending court over an Intervention Order on her ex-partner. Fiona Warzywoda was only 33 and her four children, aged 5 to 15, depend now on the kindness of a community of friends and strangers.

Yet, few strangers would be moved to take the action Nia and her sister did. Swiftly, they organised a line up of musicians and performers, found them a venue to perform in, turned the event into a fundraiser, and even created event merchandise to sell, with all proceeds going to a trust fund established for Fiona’s children.

Nia didn’t even know Fiona. Nia says she was just “sick of seeing it” all around her.

“We’re not talking in spaces where we have an impact on each other,” she says.

“We need to have the conversation.”

The atmosphere in the darkened backroom of The Reverence Hotel is friendly, even jovial, but retains a solemn undertone as everyone attending keeps in mind why they are here. The event has drawn a modest but expressive crowd, and they cluster around the room in their respective cliques.

Contemporary rock pop band 4Tress have just played an amazing set, and left the room buzzing. Over this din, Nia is explaining to me that she’s brought everyone together today because she wants to get people talking openly, honestly, and publicly about the “still very taboo” subject of family violence.

Passionately, she describes her horror at persistently coming across fear and awkwardness in others when trying to (or inevitably avoiding) talking about the issue.

“It’s not right that we can’t talk about it and have to pretend it’s not there,” she says.

As the next band sets up, I mention that the event has attracted a variety of bands and music styles, from the punk rock of Ruby Soho and Liquor Snatch to the spoken words and hip hop of Joelistics. It seems this was deliberate.

“I feel having a mix of bands is representative of the many voices out there,” Nia says.

From the musicians who have come to play tonight and then stick around afterwards, there’s a strong feeling of comradery and the sense that they are here, not to promote themselves, but to display the power of music.

Chatting with us, Bulk of Man band member Rinaldo Antico pipes up about how excited by the event he feels, particularly by Joelistics whose heavy focus on lyrics is what Rinaldo found most powerful for an event such as this.

Rinaldo also stressed the band’s eagerness to be a part of future events.

There are plans for more events such as these, Nia says, and she shouldn’t have too much trouble finding talent to get involved. The community support and interest she received for tonight was astounding, even to her.

“People put their hands up straight away to be a part of it. People I didn’t know.”

Just in the same way Nia and the Oi Enuf! organisers didn’t know Fiona. Strangers coming together to support strangers; it does happen…

Welcome to the Liberation Arts Network!

Hi. Welcome to the Liberation Arts Network, a community for creatives of all types who give their time and talent to creating positive change, the volunteers who help make it all happen, and the fans who support this fantastic work by participating in activities and going along to events.

In this virtual space you will discover some inspiring and exciting projects, opportunities, and events as well as meet, read about, chat with, and even one day collaborate with the incredible people behind those feats.

New members, after you’ve registered (you WILL NOT BE SPAMMED), fill in your profile under My Account to let us know more about you. In particular, tell us about the projects you are, or have been, involved with. You’ll see that you can also add videos and photos, creating your own portfolio of work, your skills, or just your inspirations. Go for it! The more you use your space, the more others can connect with you and you with them. We only ask that you keep it relevant (and clean, of course).

Creatives, you’ll have the additional benefit of posting your own events, jobs and opportunities, or contributing a story (subject to approval).

All visitors to the network will be able to search for members through the Members Directory. If you don’t find someone there that you know would love to be included, share with them our vision of creating a network of people who fight for change with their art, creativity and passion.