‘Speak from your heart; speak from what is inside your soul.’ Malala Yousafzai
Another year older and they say with that comes wisdom. Yet the vulnerability of the writing process has me shackled. Wait! Don’t stop here!
Did you know there are 70 million people around the world with autism and 85% of them reside in developing countries ?
Based in New York, the Global Autism Project (GAP) is a community-capacity building program. Through hands on training and workshops, trained professionals empower disadvantaged communities to better support the growth and development of individuals with autism. Don’t Stop There!
I never thought I would run out of an exhibition opening. As the artist shared her anxiety about turning thirty, a fear of inadequacy and different mindsets to deal with impending death, the validating laughter from the audience caused my chest to tighten. I could feel the displeasure on my face and taste the salty tear that stained my cheek. Don’t stop there!
From a very young age everyone knew Sean was a budding film maker. Never one to shy away from the camera, he was at home whether in front of the lens or controlling it. From our days collaborating in the class room to appointing him as the Head of Communications for Wadwell Initiatives, Sean has been constantly challenging himself to think outside the box of film and representation. Don’t stop there!
For avid readers milestones in our lives can be mapped by what book we read. In primary school I stepped through the wardrobe in the spare room into Narnia; in high school I went around the world in the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and throughout university, well I honestly didn’t read a lot of fiction, captivated by the knowledge contained in the depth of online journal databases. Over the past few weeks my spare time has been occupied with the experiences of Margaret Humphries – a seemingly humble social worker from Nottingham who was simply doing her job when she unravelled one of Britain’s greatest shames – The Child Migration Scheme. Don’t stop there!
On Saturday 13th February, Interns Australia facilitated Panel on Unpaid Internships: Experience or Exploitation? Panelists included Clara Jordan-Baird, Adam Troyn, Katelin McInerney, Linda Scott, Tilly South and Nicole Cini. Overall the session was useful to understand how the law perceives internships and what future action should (read needs to) be taken to avoid further exploitation of students. Internship culture has been on the rise. With less opportunities for employment due to what Adam Troyn referred to as the ‘over saturated graduate market,’ the idea of getting experience in order to get experience to get experience to be work ready has led to unfair conditions for students and graduates. Don’t stop there!
It was a sunny spring evening when I first ventured to Live ‘n’ Lounging, Macarthur’s only dedicated event for original live music. As I walked through the side gate and made a donation to the bands, I was met by smiling faces and a intimate-sized crowd mingling. I was there to see Playwrite, a band from Melbourne who would soon be releasing their first album. I wasn’t disappointed, in fact expectations were exceeded – right down to album signings in the lounge room! It doesn’t get more intimate and genuine. I sat down with Live ‘n’ Lounging’s Kim Cochrane to learn about the endeavour.
For as long as I can remember I have been reminded that I will never be considered successful until I do something notably significant outside of Western Sydney. Growing up I saw local papers slathered with cliché “local kids done good” stories. More recently some of my colleagues suggested that if I kept developing my established projects I would be considered static. To me the only thing that is being rendered static is the cultural development of Sydney’s greater suburbs.
Don’t stop there!
It was quite unexpected. After completing my groceries at Minto Marketplace one October afternoon (2015), an exhibition of photo media students from the local high school, Sarah Redfern was on display. Time Won’t Stand Still was a pop up exhibition of year 9 student’s photography in a vacant shop from 22 October – 8 November. You’d think after setting up Stepping Up I would have expected something like this to occur, especially with the national trend of using disused commercial spaces for temporary cultural activations. But this exhibition, although ticking a number of social outcome boxes, did not sit well with me. Don’t stop there!
Australia – it is the multicultural, lucky country. The national anthem promotes that ‘for those who’ve come across the seas we’ve boundless plains to share’, but the political rhetoric of ‘team Australia’ and immigration policy which ‘turns back the boats’ suggest otherwise. As a nation Australia struggles with its cultural identity and addressing its uncomfortable history of colonisation and genocide, on which the nation was founded. Australia’s attachment to the motherland, England has seen it continuously disassociate itself from its neighbours in the Asia-Pacific, despite its close geographical proximity. Contemporary artists probe issues pertaining to Australia’s cultural identity and the falsities of nationalism. Artists such as Zanny Begg, Abdul Abdullah, Blak Douglas, Dale Harding and Khaled Sabsabi play on the discomfort evoked from talking about Australia’s history and pertinent issues in contemporary society to scrutinise the misrepresentation and dehumanisation of people based on cultural disparity. Don’t stop there!
Elaine Scarry once said that ‘to have pain is to have certainty, to be without pain is to have doubt’ (The Body in Pain, 1985.)
When I pitched the concept for this post to South-Western Sydney-based artist and art educator Mariah Calman we were on the brink of a Kleenex moment. Sitting out the front of her house with the engine switched off, we had our first open conversation about her diagnosis of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, a neurological disorder caused by increased pressure placed on the brain. Unavoidably raw, vulnerable and hauntingly autobiographical, her recent sketches leave no room for doubt; Mariah is in pain. The trajectory of Calman’s practice has become similar to that of some of her idols – namely Frida Kahlo and Mike Parr – as she refuses to let her pain dictate her life. Don’t stop there!