burrinja makes the top ten

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Post by Adriana Alvarez.

It looks like the secret is out. Burrinja is one of the top ten places to visit in Melbourne according to UK Guardian. The post by their Australian reporter mentions it in regard to getting in touch with “traditional owners” making reference to Lin Onus’ Fish and Leaves artwork as one of it’s highlights as well as exhibitions, music and theatre.

Burrinja Cultural Centre

And indeed Burrinja is a great place to see indigenous art as it manages a rare public collection of over 600 items of Aboriginal and oceanic art from Papua New Guinea. The collection was donated to the Shire of Yarra Ranges in 2001 by Neil McLeod, a local resident and renowned photographer, book author and field collector.

But this is not the only thing on offer at Burrinja.With multiple gallery spaces for touring exhibitions, a large 400 seat theatre for live productions and artist studios and workshop rooms, it’s a hub for creative locals who can find great inspiration within it’s walls. With workshops and activities for people of all ages and abilities Burrinja encourages community engagement and inclusion. It’s support of local artists, projects (like the hillscene magazine and hillseneLIVE), festivals and events fosters a vibrant creative community, living up to it’s mission of “creating community through the Arts”.

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A visit to Burrinja isn’t complete without wandering through the Art of Place Indigenous Cultural Garden, a place to reflect, learn about and celebrate the local indigenous culture. Take in one of it’s many exhibitions, grab a gift in the gallery shop, see a show or enjoy a great coffee and meal at the Skylark Room which features brilliant music in the evenings and weekends.

Skylark Room food

So it looks like is right in naming Burrinja, one of the top ten treasures in the ‘world’s most livable city’. And we’re lucky to have it right on our doorstep.

Find out more and see what’s on at Burrinja here.

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The Arties exhibition at Burrinja

A New World; Created Through Art

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Post by Makayla Rimington

Burrinja’s Mission Statement endeavours to ‘build community through arts’ and a shining example of this is the Burrinja ‘Arties’. The Arties is a Burrinja Planned Activity Group who, in 2016, celebrate a decade of weekly meetings. The program involves adults of all abilities, from many different circumstances, joining together to create individual, expressive art.

Edges & Echoes is the chosen title for this year’s upcoming celebration. This involves gaining inspiration from subtle realms of both the imagination and reality. An opening song, followed by performances and exhibitions are planned for this significant occasion. Lynette and the volunteers have worked with The Arties for many weeks in preparation, including a dress rehearsal to practice the meaningful opening number.

Managed and funded by Burrinja and The Department of Health and Human Services, The Arties gives people that may feel outcast from the public a chance to fit in, to be accepted by a group of like-minded people in a community and arts focused facility while creating and performing. An extremely positive outcome from this Burrinja Arties program is mental wellbeing; giving people aged 20 to 70 a chance to use their individual abilities to overcome obstacles, both physical and mental.

It is an arts-based skills and learning program that emphasises cultural participation while enriching understandings of culture and community. The program also teaches socialisation skills and many art techniques.

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Lynette Forrest, an experienced Creative Arts Therapist, facilitated and designed the program that assists members of the community who are affected by mental illness and expands social support for those who are ‘at risk of homelessness’. Many of the people involved have had experience with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but having the involvement of working with other Arties gives a sense of achievement, peace and connection. Arties ‘challenges the participants to take positive risks by trying new activities, learning with artist mentors, exhibiting, performing and more’.

Lynette believes in the healing power of art, it moves beyond language and understanding, becoming instead about the physical and the pleasure of ‘doing’. ‘Anyone can do it, they can’t fail, they trust me to help them create and learn’ says Lynette.

Being treated as welcomed and individual members of the public is integral to supporting and encouraging the Arties participants to create art that tells their story.

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Each week the partakers create art-work that they have a chance to exhibit and sell once a year at the annual Arties Event. This involves painting, photography and construction all the way through to dance, music, drama and narrative.

‘The Arties get so much out of special programs like this, it is wonderful to experience’ – Dr. Ross Farnell, Executive Director, Burrinja.

‘If only everyday could be Friday’ was remarked to Lynette recently, each meeting is looked forward to by the artists, and the yearly exhibition gives the participants and their works prominence and appreciation from the community.

Lynette has found a link between art, music and mental wellbeing, she observes a positive transformation in her participants; ‘when they return next time, with a little spark, I can see that it has been a lasting change’.

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Lynette puts these amazing outcomes down to music and the arts changing and improving a participant’s self-esteem and mental wellbeing.

The latest event fell on November 4th and the Arties’ had planned an opening song with the help of Nicole from Harmonious Melodies. ‘Edges & Echoes’ is an exploration of the thresholds of imagination, space and time. The theme centres around making meaning out of reality and dreams, and the pieces created are an echo of each member’s world. The song, with the assistance of Nicole, has been written by the group, with the chorus ‘chase those bad dreams away’ coined by a participant. The song takes the members to the edge of their imagination, meeting both good and bad aspects.

The Arties exhibition

Celebrating 10 years of The Arties at Burrinja is an incredible achievement and shows the passion and determination of its facilitator, Lynette Forrest. ‘It’s amazing, my favourite job. I wish I could do it every day’. Lynette creates a happy place, an environment where the members can understand themselves and learn creative techniques to express their individuality. This year’s milestone gives recognition to the great work of Lynette, the volunteers and of course, The Arties.

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The Arties exhibition launch on November 4th.

The Exhibition runs from the 27th October to the 27th November at Burrinja.
Cnr Glenfern Road and Matson Dr, Upwey.

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navigating the personal

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On October 30, the fourth hillsceneLIVE event was held in a deserted shopfront in Monbulk. It was a night of contrasts, of intimate works that needed to be viewed closely and intense bold pieces that confronted their audience. “hillsceneLIVE: navigating personal territories” looked like it had been planned perfectly to suit the space in which it was shown but as with all great performance what was on the surface is only a small part of the picture.

Everything seemed smooth and seamless on the night but these words by the festival’s artistic director, on a zine published by the creative team and available on the night for free, offer audiences further stirring insight into this extraordinary festival and the dedication it takes to lead it.

I haven’t slept properly for weeks.
I have had more anxiety this year than any other.
We lost our venue for hillsceneLIVE last Friday.
There have been moments when I was lost beyond words.
Alongside moments of clarity when I just knew “this is what it is all about”.

 I was worried no one would engage with the project at all.
This project has worn so many hats in 2015.
I thought about ‘getting a job’ a scary amount.
In a volatile cultural climate, including the biggest jolt to arts funding in my lifetime, what is my role in this industry?

What is my self induced obligation to those I see as creatively and culturally vital to our future?

 My role is to write this thing.  The program, this festival.  To nurture others and the ideas that surge forth in them.  To make you know why these artists are important.  To advocate for their support.  To facilitate the growth and nourishment of this creative world I call home.

 Here I am. 

 Gareth Owen Hart.  11:11pm on Tuesday 27th October.

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If navigating personal territories is about peeling away the surface to get to the core, the rawest most vulnerable part of ourselves, then this festival lived up to it’s name in spades.

HillsceneLIVE 2015 artists were:

Mandy Picket – Discreet Activations
Alex Mann – Painful Pollock
Paul Roberts and Cobie Orger – Not Falling, Dancing
Tal Fitzpatrick – PM Please (#PMplz)
Vivienne Rogis – Pandora’s Box
Adva Weinstein – Isn’t it just
Ellen Davies – A Concerning Dance
Rachel THorpe – No artist is ever morbid
Hugh McSpedden
tbC, Roderick Price and Sherbrooke Community School – Random Methodologies #2
Aviva Endean – Intinmate Sound Immersion
Amy Middleton
Michele Fountain – Textural Forest: Change/Transform

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Festival Team

Festival Director: Gareth Hart
Festival Producers: Alana Michaud, Justine Walsh, Toni Main, Zoe Amber PrestonProduction Manager: Stephen Moylan
Photographers: Amelia Ducker, Fergus Floyd
Videographer: Zoe Amber Preston
Caffeination: Capulus Roasters (Johno East)
Potatoes: by Phil
Market Stall holders: Charlie Robertson, Briony Sanmaria, Noris Ariza
Volunteers: Dani-Ela Kayler, Libby Maitland, Clauidia Xantidis, Kel White, Michael lawrence

Check out hillsceneLIVE on facebook

Proudly auspiced by Burrinja Cultural Centre
Proudly funded by Yarra Ranges Council

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Creative Opportunities

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At the hillscene we often get people sending us their information to share with our talented community so here are a few creative opportunities that are on the horizon…

Applications for Dandenong Ranges Open Studios 2016 close on Monday the 5th of October.

The Open Studios weekend is one of the most anticipated events for the region’s cultural calendar, attracting art minded visitors and tourists since 2004. The Dandenong Ranges Open Studios program provides a unique insight into our artists’ work environments as well as their art.
There are 5 funded Emerging Artist spaces available. For more information go to Dandenong Ranges Open Studios.

Collective Consciousness – End of the Line group exhibition

Collective Consciousness is an outdoor exhibition located in BlackSmiths Way. Participating artists will be provided with a plywood board 90cmX 120cm that can be collected from Limerence between 22 September to 31st of October* – 10am to 5pm. Each board is attached to a large fence upon installation on the morning of the festival. Please note that holes will be drilled into corners of the boards so we can attach them to the fence.
Your job as the artist is to spread your creative wonderment on the board in any medium you like, using any subject matter you like! Just please keep in mind that the work will be displayed in a public space so it needs to be safe, any objects must be securely attached to the board and the work should be weather proof – just in case we end up having  to rain dance on the day!
Please note that you will be required to drop off your artwork for the Collective Consciousness exhibition at Limerence (1642 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave) between the 3 to 20 November* – 10am to 5pm.
*Closed on Sunday and Monday

The Doll House – End of the Line group exhibition

We would love to assemble a collection of handmade dolls in a tiny and curious exhibition space… they can be as lovely or creepy as you like! We just ask that these “people”… erm, I mean artworks, be no larger than 40cm squared.
Please note that you will be required to drop off the artwork for The Doll House exhibition at Limerence (1642 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave) between the 20 October to 3 November* – 10am to 5pm.
*Closed on Sunday and Monday

If you would like to take part in one or more of the End of the Line group exhibitions please email the following details to amym@burrinja.org.au
Artist Name:
Group Exhibition you want to take part in:
Do you fancy lending us a hand installing the exhibitions?

Studio Space Available at Burrinja

Studio 3 is available at Burrinja from the 1st of December. For more details go to Burrinja studios.

The Regional Exhibitions Program is now accepting proposals for the 2016 program.

The program exhibits at:

  • The Memo Gallery at The Memo, Healesville
  • The Studio at the Arts Centre, Warburton
  • Red Earth Gallery at the Mooroolbark Community Centre

The Regional Exhibitions program is a valued part of the Arts, Culture & Heritage Department in the Yarra Ranges Council. Consisting of three galleries, these vibrant spaces are situated within multi-disciplinary art and community centres aimed to inspire and foster the community.

The Regional Exhibitions Program every year exhibits local, national and international exhibitions from established and emerging practitioners.

For all the information you need go to www.culturetracks.info. Get in touch with Jade Bitar, Regional Exhibitions Officer on 03 5965 3509 / 0419 384 526 or email exhibitions@yarraranges.vic.gov.au if you have any questions.

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Eva Glac artwork for "tencity of Change" exhibition

Burrinja Climate Change Biennale

Eva Glac artwork for

Australian Black Bean Pod by Eva Glac

Post by Ross Farnell

Art prize – $3,000.  Entries close August 10, 2015  LWCC high res text

A brand new art prize opportunity has just been announced, and it’s coming from our own Hills community!

The Burrinja Climate Change Biennale acquisitive art prize is a key project of the Living with Climate Change program which recently featured in our Hillscene Winter edition.

In keeping with the program’s theme of exploring through art and creative expression the changes we see on our near horizon, the Burrinja Biennale invites works that respond to themes of climate change both locally – in the Dandenong Ranges – but also nationally and globally.

Works may be across any visual arts medium, from sculpture to new media, oils to textiles; in fact any preferred medium you work with.

The Burrinja Climate Change Biennale strives to elicit authentic, non-directed audience responses to art works and the ways in which they provoke responses and contribute to the critical debate and cultural conversations surrounding climate change. That can be across the whole range of intersecting impacts: climate, flora and fauna, built environment, social and cultural change.

The Biennale is an immersive and experiential exhibition incorporating direct and online audience responses and incorporating ongoing responsive art-making activities together with the exhibition. So Burrinja is keen to source art works that draw the viewer into an active response, to think and engage with the local and global implications of climate change.

By revisiting the theme via an acquisitive award exhibition every two years, Burrinja is looking forward to building a valuable cultural and historic archive of our changing responses to climate change over the years. How will our artists be viewing and portraying their contemporary community’s responses to and changed realities of living with climate change in ten, twenty or fifty years’ time?

The award and exhibition are designed to explore and challenge ideas through creative endeavour, expressions and dialogue, allowing the conversation about their own environment to evolve, develop and extend over time. In doing so, we will create a valuable historical record of those creative responses for our community to reflect upon.

If you’re keen to create a new work that responds to this theme, or have created a work in the past two years that addresses or intersects with climate change, then here’s how you can be a part of the Burrinja Climate Change Biennale.

Visit www.burrinja.org.au and follow the links from the home page to the Burrinja Climate Change Biennale. Here you’ll find all the terms and conditions, program information, and the link for the on-line application form.

So… get busy all you creatives out there!!

KEY DATES

Deadline extended!! Entries Close – August 17, 2015
Finalists Notified – September 14
Exhibition Opening & Acquisitive Award – Sunday October 11
Exhibition Dates – October 3 to January 31, 2016

Tiffany Morris North

Shedding by Tiffany Morris North

Photos courtesy of Burrinja are artworks from The Dandenong Ranges Open Studios exhibition “The Tencity of Change”.

This project is generously supported by a Shire of Yarra Ranges Arts and Heritage Development Grant.

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A wing and a prayer exhibition

A wing and a prayer

A wing and a prayer exhibition A wing and a prayer exhibition

Post by Zoe Amber Preston.

Stepping into the current exhibition at Burrinja called, “A Wing and a Prayer” was like setting foot into a fantasy world. Walking around the space I found earth-like talismans, peculiar characters, miniature worlds and handmade sculptures inspired by various spiritual beliefs and religions. The exhibition included artworks by Joy Serwylo, Janine Sutton, Jenny Rowe and Lisa von Mueller.

The little characters in Joy’s miniature installations seem to be trapped in a world where the pressure of being perfect dominates their lives. My curiosity got the better of me as I peeped inside each artwork, discovering little gardens filled with topiary trees, animals made from moss, hanging birds, deformed crocodiles and little human-like characters. Experiencing the exhibition made me wonder what it would be like to exist in these tiny fictional worlds. Each little character seemed to be fighting to keep their microcosm in order, believing a better quality of life will be afforded to them if they do.

Joy Serwylo's artworks

In a brief interview with Joy, she mentioned that the meaning behind her new series is that “we don’t need to have the perfect life in order to be happy. So many people strive for perfection, but I believe we don’t need perfection if we focus on the beauty of an authentic life.” As a child, Joy grew up creating beautiful artworks, but now in her 60’s she wants to create meaning and purpose behind her work in order to inspire others.

“On reflection, I feel that avoiding imperfection, and creating our own small worlds will only fill us with fear for what lies ahead. I want to encourage you to walk out your front door, climb over that hedge and escape your idea of misguided perfection. Happiness is found in our natural spontaneous lives, anything could happen when you just go with the flow!”

Joy Serwylo's artworks

Alongside Joy’s inventive sculptural collages are delightful ceramic models by Jenny Rowe. Like before, I felt like her work has been lifted from a fantasy storybook, but this time from thousands of years ago. The early morning sun shone through the window, giving the characters a radiant and heavenly appearance alongside the tranquil faces. I could imagine the history and untold stories behind each of the characters. I felt calm and intrigued by Jenny’s display, focusing on the individuality of each sculpture, “Juju” amulets and ghost-like ceramic baby. As I stared at the hollow babies, I imagined them staring back at me despite the lack of eyeballs. The thought left me nervous, but even more curious!

Jenny Rowe's artworks

I had mixed responses to Jenny’s work. Some of the characters represented looked calm and content whilst others looked hurt and fearful. I discovered that some suggested a happy co-existence between humans and animals, demonstrating that we are all connected.

Burrinja exhibition 'A wing and a prayer'

“A Wing and a Prayer” explores spirituality and suggests ways we can live harmoniously with each other and nature, despite our different beliefs and lifestyles. It helped me gain a new understanding about religion and spirituality that has made a lasting impression on me.

The exhibition is on until the 28 September in the Jarmbi Downstairs Gallery at Burrinja, if you want to experience it yourself.

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Review updated by Adriana Alvarez.

Janine Sutton’s work is a journey of discovering spirituality through cultural icons and the pop culture kitsch that surrounds us. Some paired down yet vibrantly painted, others laden with so much detail, you could spend ages looking to find the hidden treasure, toys and bling that is part of our modern existence. Her artists statement reveals the complicated thinking process that such a loaded subject as this would bring. Expressing the dilemma that spirituality and religion can often pose for us all.

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Like Lisa Von Mueller, I am a huge fan of glossy magazines so I was drawn to Lisa’s work immediately. She has used collages of her old magazines to recreate medieval madonnas and saints into modern day idols to worship. The collages have then been printed onto silk and embellished here and there with some paint and beading work. Her modern take on these religious icons real and imagined bring to life in a modern sense the stories of worship and martyrdom of women who are scarred and tortured for their beliefs. These modern day saints have perhaps not come such a long way from their early counterparts and show us that the past is often repeating itself. And as always you have to fight for what you believe in.

Lisa Von Mueller Lisa Von Mueller collages Lisa Von Mueller 'a Wing and a prayer'

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Black Saturday Recollections

The Art of Response: fireman

Post by Gareth Hart.

The Art of Response: Recording and Collecting Black Saturday is the newest exhibition at the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum.

As you enter the gallery, you are greeted with the following description:

This exhibition explores how artistic and collecting practices have been used across Yarra Ranges by some individuals, communities and institutions in response to Black Saturday. Through artworks and objects, many of the less tangible challenges faced by fire affected communities are revealed. The artefacts and artworks that are kept and created reflect part of the human side of the storyhow fire can transform not only objects and landscapes, but lives.

Balck Saturday exhibition at Yarra Ranges Regional Museum

It is a fascinating curatorial choice for an exhibition: placing found and artistic objects side by side, and considering how they can be used as signifiers and respondents for a tragic event of historical importance.

Works of mixed media, traditional art form and found objects fill the gallery space – and through their presence I am aware of a dense experience of scale – the gallery is relatively small in size, some of the work is large in scale, and the subject matter huge beyond comprehension.

As I wander through the gallery, I encounter pieces that catch my eye, not for their aesthetic value per se, but for the journey they have undergone to be a part of this exhibition. They are works of extreme beauty, I am particularly thinking upon a collage of rusty metal, glass fragments and ceramic pieces of crockery, which during the fire melted and fused themselves together. It is abstract art at its most profound – a piece of sculpture that owes much of its beauty to Mother Nature, whilst at the same time this environmental influence speaks bounds to a much darker experience.

Black Saturday exhibition at Yarra Ranges Regional Museum

I also encounter the profundity of simplicity – glass bottles that withstood intense amounts of heat recreating themselves as melted pieces of glass sculpture. I cannot help be reminded of Salvador Dali’s melting clocks.

Each piece of art on the walls, be that painting, film, felting, etc, was created by artists living locally, in response to the events of Black Saturday. As each piece has its own visual reference to that day, so do the stories behind the creations. One I was quite taken by was Ali Griffin’s description of her stunning piece ‘Acceptance 1’, which reads:

I went back to the studio and started writing these questions and my answers to them on the canvas. I wrote about accepting what happens, and learning from what I was writing. Then, as usual, I poured shellac over the top of the writing and it disappeared. I nearly cried. A few minutes later I realised I’d just learnt an incredibly valuable lesson. I just needed to accept what had happened.

And yet underneath all of this, is the strength of a community: the resilience of artists to use their practice as an expressive tool for complex emotions/experiences, and a way for the arts to provide an insight and context into a tragic event.

Black Saturday exhibition Yarra Ranges Regional Museum

I leave the gallery incredibly confused, but this is not a reflection of the work or the curation of the exhibition. I am deeply moved to confusion, pondering how such incredible devastation can produce such a culturally relevant and reflective appropriation of community values, events and spirit.

The Art of Response: Recording and Collecting Black Saturday is exhibiting until Sunday, June 15 at the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum, Castella Street, Lilydale

Black Saturday exhibition

Rusted at The Basin

Rusted – What’s a girl to do?

Rusted at the Basin

Post by Amy Middleton.

Paris Lyons is the owner and instigator behind Rusted on Forest Street in The Basin. When Paris finished school in 2012 she decided not to choose between the two worlds she loved, art and science, but embraced them both full heartedly… and full mindedly! She juggles her time between studying Neuroscience and running her store that sells imported jewelry, clothing and unusual handmade items from Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Morocco, Spain and all around the world.

I tip my hat to this lovely young lady who clearly knows what she loves and is prepared to work hard to make it work!

Shop2 / 367 Forest Rod, The Basin.
www.facebook.com/rustedshop

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End of the Line festival

Main-Stage-Cameo-Cinema Otto & Hazel Zagala

Post by guest blogger Anna Zalga

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Owing to my hectic weekly schedule – nothing special, just work and ferrying the monkeys around – I try and spend my weekends local. Need to find me? Try the the back garden or pushing the pram around the ‘hood’. But in a break from routine I headed for the hills, the Yarra Ranges to be precise, to attend the End of the Line Festival at Belgrave. The event promised 70 bands, a makers market, workshops and art exhibits over one massive day.

Aside from an excursion to Puffing Billy in my youth and a few weekends in Upwey as a teenager riding my skateboard on the ageing basketball court at the local high school, I have not been a regular visitor to these parts. Driving into the town, I felt immediately charmed. It wasn’t just the steep, bushy walkways though they were lovely, or the puffs of chimney smoke drifting lazily over the town. The Cameo Cinema sits on the main drag like a stately monolith, a dark cave of visceral excitements and solitary pleasures. Everyone has a touchstone for what constitutes civilisation. For some that’s a public library, in my case, it’s a cinema.

We didn’t have a plan, other than to hear some music and head home when we tired. Sometimes being on foot with the pram is not too different to a mobile shanty town: drinks, snacks, warm clothes, toys. Heading into town with my pre-schooler and pre-teen in tow I was hoping we could make the day work. When they started asking if we could go home in the first half hour I began to have my doubts. But kids are not that different from grown-ups. Faced with a new environment their instincts is to get back to familiar turf. I was having none of it. Guys, I reminded them, we are here to hear music. Let’s go find it.

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What did we hear first? The pounding of drums. Turning the corner in the the Station we happened upon a dozen local kids channeling Africa. Is anyone doing Aussie bush ballads on that vast continent?

We got a kick out of seeing the garbage bins pasted over with artwork – what a good idea. And toodled along the train track stopping every now and again to watch the graffiti artists shake their cans between drags of cigarettes. At tbC stage, where a few turned over milk crates made for seats, Harmony Byrne sang a sweet set. She had the small crowd enthralled with her strong voice in perfect pitch. I felt moved in equal measure by the vulnerability and courage of her performance and the fortitude it takes to stand alone on a stage.

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We pushed on through the excellent maker’s market where we found ourselves in tie-dye heaven. In a stall that might have been made by elves, the kids picked up a necklace each: a sparkling unicorn’s horn and multi-coloured mushroom. With these talismans around their necks the monkeys seemed re-energised.

At the very end we reached the Green. Here we settled on the lawn on soft cushions under a billowing silk canopy to watch the belly dancers, chow down some bliss balls and have our faces painted. I had the opportunity to do some people watching. It was a colourful parade. There were some good Alt Country outfits, a family of medievalists. But the day belonged to the Rakia Gypsy dancers. With their fingerless gloves, silver jewellery and felt hats, those ladies brought Frida Kahlo flair to the occasion.

On Sunday over brunch at my local cafe – wedged between chino and sports wear brigade – I thought: I have to get out more.

Photos by Anna Zalga and Amy Middleton.

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tbC Mural project

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The first of tbC’s mural project walls completed.

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A work in progress, Blacksmiths Way in Belgrave home to tbC’s mural project.

Post by Adriana Alvarez.

Tiffaney Bishop Collective (tbC) has some great initiatives and their mural project is no exception. Their aim is to paint murals along Blacksmiths Way on the back walls of the Belgrave shops and to encourage young artists to express themselves in a creative and positive way.

But to paint on peoples walls you need their permission so with the help of Yarra Ranges councillor Samantha Dunn and the Yarra Ranges Youth Services department a letter was sent out to building owners asking them if they would be happy to engage in the project which would be managed responsibly by tbc. If everyone agreed they hope that the works would then morph into the whole laneway. An ambitious project which would see an otherwise boring back lane be transformed into an arts precinct.

To encourage people to get on board tbc have started by painting their own walls and the ones adjacent to them. It will be more street art than graffiti with older more seasoned artists being used as role models for younger artists. Emma Jennings is the first of these artist, “I think part of the objective is to discourage tagging and the illegal work that’s going on and encourage young people to think about the design and different styles and that’s why I’m here” says Emma. It’s also partly about exposing the project to a different group of people and getting different styles of art on the walls. “We’re trying to get the other shop owners to agree to it as well, and not everyone wants graffiti on their back wall legal or otherwise. So if we can get a range of styles going then it’s a collaborative project, with lots of interesting artwork going on,” explains Emma.

One of tbC’s young artists interviewing Emma Jennings about the creative process.

But Tiffaney Bishop is quick to point out that the project is more for the young artists. “The main reason for doing it was to engage young people in productive and positive ways, and deter them from their negative stuff so you have to accept a degree of youth aesthetics in the work. I’m really happy about the role modelling but it’s not about just giving adults the exposure it’s more geared to young people and letting them have the creative freedom to make the space their own,” says Tiffaney.

The plan is to find a budget for it eventually so that artists get a nominal fee to do it but at his stage it will be a slow roll out. tbC will be paying for all the expenses so there’s a limit to how fast it can be done. “Some of the works may not be to everyone’s liking or even be great works but that’s all part of the process of learning. So people have to suspend their judgement a bit and allow young people to express themselves,” adds Tiffaney.

Two shop owners are on board out of the 13 and two more are in negotiations. The idea is to live paint it at the End of the Line festival either on the existing walls or the new walls and to do all the mini skips as well since they have permission to paint all those.

Asher, one of the young artists involved in the project sums it up nicely, “It’s a good motivation to come down and paint the walls. It adds a bit of colour to a boring space and makes them look good. You look at the walls and picture what you can do there but you don’t want to paint them without permission, because that just leads to trouble. If we can get them all commissioned that would be good.”

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Emma Jennings working on the mural at tbC.

Any artists interested in participating or being a role model in this space should contact tbC.