MAV has a profound commitment to arts and artists shaping the narratives that define who we are as a multicultural nation.
Anchoring wellbeing through creativity and connection.
The Ahead of the Curve Commissions was a call out for young and emerging artists of colour living around Melbourne, to create new digital artworks that responded to social challenges, including COVID-19.
These works show the artists’ strength and resilience in the face of adversity, explore health and wellbeing, and draw from their lived experiences.
These commissions are now live on our website!
Meet the artists and communities
Writer and Screen Producer
Nikki Tran is a writer and screen producer living and working on Wurundjeri land. Her screen career began with community arts, and she has since been working to bring a deeper sense of cultural nuance and place into Australian narrative stories. Her online credits include CEEBS, GIRL, INTERPRETED, and FRESH! Nikki also co-created and produced ABC’s factual series CAN YOU HEAR ME? Nikki is currently a development coordinator of scripted drama at Fremantle Australia. She has cut her teeth in scripted development working with ABC Drama & Comedy, Matchbox Pictures, Tony Ayres Productions and VicScreen as one of the inaugural recipients of the 2019 VicScreen Screen Development Internship. Nikki’s creative practice has previously received support from Footscray Community Arts’ West Writers and Malthouse Theatre's Writers' Development program, AFTRS Talent Camp, University of Melbourne’s ACMI X residency and State Library of Victoria’s Creative Fellowship. She holds a Bachelor of Media and Communication (RMIT) and Master of Producing (VCA). As a mentor, Nikki hopes to provide support and guidance for story development, funding and/or pitching projects as well as advice on developing a career in TV.
Writer, Director and Producer
Jessica Li is a Melbourne-based writer, director and producer. Her career is fostered by training from the Australian Writer's Guild, Howard Fine Acting Studio and Swinburne University. Her short film, Mother Tongue, made its Australian premiere at the Melbourne Women in Film Festival in 2021, where it was the recipient of both the Best National Next Gen Film Award and the Programmer’s Choice: Best Victorian Next Gen Film Award, as well as the Critic’s Choice Award. Other accolades include receiving Best Drama at Freshflix Festival in Sydney and Best Emerging Filmmaker at the Setting Sun Film Festival. Mother Tongue is now streaming on SBS On Demand. In addition to writing and directing her own work, Jessica crews extensively - predominantly working within the producing, assistant directing, scripting and casting departments. Jessica's directing and casting work is heavily informed by her early acting background. In 2018, she was cast in Ric Forster's webseries, Flunk, which received Screen Australia and VicScreenfunding for its third and fourth season, set to go into production later this year. She is currently developing a long-form project while working full-time as a Production Coordinator. As an Ahead of the Curve mentor, Jess hopes to show the mentee how to develop projects as a multi-hyphenated creative.
Film and Music Video Director
Ez Eldin Deng is a South Sudanese Australian film and music video Director. He has directed numerous music videos, short films, and online educational content which have reached international audiences in festivals or on YouTube. His writing and directing work includes the critically acclaimed ‘Road Dogs’ and award-winning short film, ‘Blvck Gold’. Deng first arrived in Melbourne, Australia in 2004 with his family and to this day, Melbourne is still his home as he continues to break new grounds in Australia's film and television industry. As a proud member of the African-Australian community, has been a key creative in shaping Melbourne’s arts scene through community projects, workshops, consultation, strategic planning and deliverings. Deng co-founded Next in Colour, a ground-breaking creative initiative run by a team of African creative practitioners. As an Ahead of the Curve mentor, he hopes to share his insights in channeling authenticity, creating and sticking to your vision and empowering the community.
Matthew Victor Pastor is a Filipino Australian filmmaker. An alumnus of the prestigious Victorian College of the Arts his feature and short films have been selected at over 70 international film festivals. In October 2020 his feature film The Neon Across the Ocean (91 mins) world premiered at the 44th São Paulo International Film Festival. In 2021 A Pencil to the Jugular (121 mins) world premiered at the Moscow International Film Festival (the second oldest film festival in the world). He is the also the associate producer on the feature film Anak (Caleb Ribates) which had its world premiere at the 70th Melbourne International Film Festival. Screen Australia, Film Victoria, and AFTRS funded his short film Fun Times which was penned by AACTA nominated writer Llewellyn Michael Bates. In June 2020 it premiered at the 37th St Kilda Film Festival, and has had a successful film festival run at both Academy & Goya qualifying film festivals and winning Best Film & Best screenplay at the 25th Canberra Short Film Festival. As an Ahead of the Curve mentor, Matt hopes to impart his wisdom on self-driven projects, lean filmmaking and utilising your resources and community at hand to create.
Peril is an online magazine focused on issues of Asian Australian arts and culture. We have been sharing stories since 2006. Peril showcases new literature and stories through diverse forms, including poetry, drama, translations, creative writing, memoir, essays, biographical profiles, interviews and other structures. We are also interested in critical and reflective writing about the visual arts, music, performance, theatre, film and other cultural arts practices. To understand these practices, we profile leading and emerging arts practitioners, particularly Asian Australian practitioners. We foster dialogue and conversation around issues of diverse cultural production and news issues of Asian Australian interest by supporting creative non-fiction, citizen journalism and opinion pieces. Peril is an active contributor to the Australian literary and creative arts communities, hosting and participating in a range of workshops, panels, seminars and events that look to engage the community in cultural production that is representative of the diversity of the Australian community and relevant in a globally interconnected world. Peril welcomes contributions from all, but will prioritise Asian-Australian and contributors of colour or contributors of diverse backgrounds as relevant to our readership and themes. Peril is inclusive of people of diverse sexualities and genders. Peril acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the original owners and custodians of the land that we live and work on.
Dancer, Choreographer and Writer
Priya Srinivasan is a dancer/choreographer/writer whose performances work towards social justice issues. She has choreographed several solo, duet, ensemble and large-scale projects internationally and nationally for festivals and has collaborated on major projects with the Hermitage Museum Amsterdam, Berlin Wall Memorial, Rockbund Art Museum Shanghai, Typografia Gallery Romania, Showroom Gallery London, Dakshina Chitra and Spaces Chennai, Adishakti Puducherry, Highways Los Angeles, DCA Darwin, Dancehouse and Bunjil Place. Her large span of intercultural work focuses primarily on feminist collaborations most notable of which is “Churning Waters” a feminist Indigenous Indian work which was selected to tour India for Australia Festival and more recently a series of hybrid online and live performance works with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. She is also the author of the award winning book “Sweating Saris: Indian Dance as Transnational Labour.” She is the co-Artistic Director of Sangam: Performing Arts Platform and Festival of South Asia and Diaspora which she founded in 2019 featuring over 200 artists on funded platforms as a corrective to the lack of opportunities for artists of colour in Melbourne.
Explore the works
Rahel Davies and Wintana Kidane
Bittersweet and Bittersweet Talks is dedicated to highlighting and celebrating the stories of accomplished and inspirational people of colour in Australia. As part of the project, we produced 6 pieces of work, 5 of which were part of the Bittersweet talk segment.
Indian Care's Project SASS and Wellbeing aims to support the social and emotional wellbeing of South Asian International Students in Melbourne. It is a student-led co-design project will develop and deliver culturally appropriate, evidence-based strategies to facilitate and foster connections with each other and the community by providing a safe space to share their stories. The creative workshops offered participants an opportunity to develop creative, communication and technology skills, assisting with job readiness skills and over all support for emotional wellbeing during a challenging time post COVID-19 lockdowns. The overall objective of this project was to build resilience by connecting the South Asian international students with each other and the diaspora to increase their social capital using the medium of creative art. The project offered free workshops in podcasting creation with facilitators Ayan Shirwa and Karina Aedo, and understanding power structures with Dr. Priya Srinivasan.
No Compass is shared space between Asian Australian Studies Research Network; It’s Not a Compliment; Peril Magazine; Teh Cha; and Writing Through Fences. No Compass builds on the idea of “diaspora as methodology”, deploying diaspora as a political verb rather than administrative noun, to challenge the idea that diverse communities are “hard to reach”, instead considering them “easy to love” and challenging the justice of health, social, community and other systems. Neither “about the virus”, nor “not about the virus”, No Compass invites perspectives that engage with race, culture and the contemporary challenges of navigating Australian identity in the context of COVID-19, showcasing the lived reality of “Australian” communities, reflecting their dignified, complex and nuanced experiences, their self-defined identities and histories.
Triumph Over Adversity is a digital series by Pasifika TOA featuring Victorian-based youth, of diverse backgrounds, who chose to share their real-life stories in order to raise social awareness, promote cultural understanding and support youth expression. Moreover, amid a Covid affected world, Triumph Over Adversity is a youth outreach initiative that connects our youth and community together. All who participated in this series did so with the hope that their story may help others who may be going through similar experiences.
Camp Mana and the scheduled time it was meant to run, fell victim to COVID and the recidivism of its young participants. However, a contingency plan was made to develop, produce and deliver an engaging online program despite the circumstances. To grand success, a productive online program was delivered over 14 days, with daily mentorship, creative writing workshops, music soundtrack development, filmmaking and photography. Camp Mana (Online) shape-shifted into a short film project we have called 'Unlocked', a collaboration and collection of anonymous stories, poetry and spoken word from BIPOC youth who have been in and out of the justice system. Unlocked has now inspired a long-term film and music production to capture young peoples stories over the next few years.
Ana Maria Gomides
claustrofobia is about the refusal to forget the violence perpetrated on my ancestors for my skin to reach its lightness. It’s about reminding myself and others that white colonisers failed in their calculated attempt to erase entire races of people, while the world at large encourages us to forget. re-telling our histories and stories is an act of defiance.
We make art as a visceral response to the forces of bigotry and intolerance, which seek to undermine the hard-fought battle for pluralism.
We make art to understand who we are as migrants on Indigenous land.
We make art to draw attention to the work that is still needed to future proof our identity as a society that deeply values its diversity.
Arts as diverse as our people.
We champion culturally diverse artists and communities to create systems of cultural production and participation that uphold equity and self-determination.
We champion culturally diverse artists and communities
We privilege non-western ways of doing, knowing and being, to tell stories that illuminate our humanity and improve intercultural understanding;
We strive for cultural democracy, sharing our knowledge and skills with partners across the arts and cultural sector to build platforms for engagement and visibility;
Diverse communities see themselves represented in and by us, in work that resonates with their truths, underpinned by shared values and dreams of new futures; and
We are outspoken in our support of cultural participation as a human right, from which we derive social, cultural and economic benefits for the development of individuals and society.