MAV has a profound commitment to arts and artists shaping the narratives that define who we are as a multicultural nation.
Diasporas 2023 will be a continuum of culture making, prioritising diverse worldviews and knowledge systems. As we are transitioning into the next era and navigating extensive global, local and personal changes.
Diasporas 2023 is seeking to commission a team of 5 Thought Leaders, Creatives of Colour with a strong foundation in ceremony, connection and community to spearhead the second iteration of Diasporas. The team will weave together the five pillars of focus, economic sustainability, cultural maintenance and evolution, integrity in storytelling, food and environmental care and create a path towards a legacy in the arts sector.
Ahead of the Curve: Workshop Series will provide young creatives of colour with professional development while focusing on wellbeing and sustainability in the arts.
This series of workshops respond to the challenges and impacts the pandemic has had on the mental health of young people of colour. It will offer a safe space for diverse creatives to connect, cultivate self-care and wellbeing practices, and develop the skills to assist sustainability in the professional industry with a thriving arts career.
Meet the artists and communities
Painter and Visual Artist
Anthony Bertucci is a Melbourne based painter/visual artist. He was born and bred in Campbellfield, to Italian immigrant parents Francesco and Teresa and then in his teens moved to Roxburgh Park. He was a creator and performer from a very young age and went onto performing arts and corporate careers all the while producing art for Design firms, Private collections, Display Homes and exhibiting in Group and Solo shows. Inspired by Natural landscapes, Ethereal spaces and places of transcendence, his paintings are vibrating with splashes of colour, layered movement and subconscious mark making. Abstract expressionism and spirituality have always been an inspiration for Anthony’s work which has been evolving over 2 decades and the latest collection delves into languishing landscapes, space travel and abstract microcosmos . Bertucci himself says,” There is a constant dialogue happening between me and the art I’m producing, it’s a tug of war between perfection and imperfection. Somewhere in the middle is where I want to be with my art, to honour the majestic imperfections of life and nature and the obscured beauty all around us”
Yelena Ashlapova’s art practice emerged as an outcome of life journey. Her art is a personal expression of her emotions. Mostly working using acrylic and oil paint, she is interested in connecting philosophy, science and art in her work, which are translated in abstraction or figurative styles. She has received awards for Best entry at Bridgewater Exhibition 2017 and Hume Art Award 2018.
Not For Profit
Indian Care is a not-for-profit organisation set up in 2014 dedicated solely to address the welfare needs of Indian origin people in Victoria.
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.
Explore the works
I created EATING THE OTHER as a response to the oppressive structures of the world we live in- to reflect the complicated realities of navigating this world as an immigrant and woman of colour. I wanted to explore the damaging reality of racial micro-aggressions; of death by a thousand cuts. And most importantly, I wanted to centre a Brown female perspective on these topics in an unfiltered and honest way- for once, not trying to be palatable to the world around me, but to resist and speak my truth honestly.
"‘salmon cannon me into the abyss’ is a poetry EP made in collaboration with Felicity Yang, Hannah Wu, Jamie Marina Lau and Lei Lei Kung. Dedicated to my dad, who died in 2017, it features four tracks that piece together moments, scenes and sensations of grief and loss. I wrote my poems in fragments—on my Notes app, receipts, scraps of paper, work documents, text messages, emails to myself. I recorded my poems by speaking into a microphone through a stocking stretched over a hanger, or on my geriatric iPhone. Vocal processing changed my voice into new impressions and textures. Found sounds reference both the precious and banal, such as pearl extraction, orchestra tuning, cicadas, a clicking mouse and shimmering. I felt a sense of release in sending my recordings away to my friends, for them to return as something new. Catharsis crystallised into something else."
"The pandemic has been a very difficult time for all of us, we have been through moments of sadness, uncertainty, anger and hopelessness. Some of us are far away from our homes, and the pandemic made it hard to create a sense of belonging. I connected with some friends virtually and our conversations made me think about how each of us was experiencing something different during the lockdown and we also were trying to look after ourselves and stay positive. I decided that I wanted to document the experiences of women of colour because there was a common ground, being migrant or having migrant parents and also, speaking a language different from English and living in a multicultural city like Melbourne. My creative process consisted on interviewing these women asking them to share their experiences, to share how they take care of themselves during the lockdowns, also if they wanted to share a tip for self-care, and a recipe for something they enjoyed eating or drinking during that time. Additionally, I asked for a photo which in some cases I took and in other cases they send it to me. After having this information I started to create the illustrations based on the photos of each woman and lastly designed the book including the artwork and the information they shared."
"what it's like to be left is a short film about what it's like to lose someone you love during the pandemic. Losing loved ones is always hard - and it's weirder when you're attending funerals over Zoom or when people end relationships for no clear reason and you're stuck within the same walls during a 5km lockdown. I was ashamed of how I felt-- mourning a private loss while the world as we know it is ending, while other people are enduring harder oppressions, can feel indulgent. But all griefs need to be faced before they can be survived. Making this film was my way of honouring and exploring intense feelings that were killing me, that I felt were inappropriate to share even with people closest to me. I've done heaps of TikTok videos, YouTube videos, Instagram stories and lives - but this is my first proper short film. I shot this film on my smartphone. Aside from the North Melbourne train shots, all the clips were filmed within my 5km radius. I composed the soundtrack in Ableton, and recorded sounds from around my neighbourhood. I aimed for a cinematic art-film aesthetic using lo-fi methods. I did the jobs that most film productions hire large teams to do. I've never attended art school or film school. Aside from the MAV filmmaking and sound workshops, and a couple of Ableton workshops I attended outside the Ahead of the Curve program, I taught myself everything through trial and error. I'm grateful to MAV for the opportunity to experiment and try new things with my creative practice."
Disabled people of colour, queer people of colour, poor people of colour, migrant people of colour, and undocumented people of colour felt the full brunt of structural racism during the pandemic. A lack of adequate and inclusive services left many in homelessness, poverty and distress. It was a time when scarcity put everyone on edge and gaps within government support programs were made clear. But communities of colour are resilient, creative, and tenacious. People of colour came together to practise mutual aid, for each other. These efforts built solidarity, created safety nets, and fostered love across communities. It showed that another world is possible - a world built on grassroots over bureaucracy, abundance over scarcity, love over shame. "My piece features words from some of the mutual aid groups that inspired me during the pandemic. These were the Anti-Colonial Asian Alliance of Kulin Nations, the Disability Justice Network, and Undocumented Migrants Solidarity. I selected these quotes for their representation of the politics behind mutual aid that distinguishes it from charity, as well as the radical love at its core that challenges capitalistic self-preservation." This artwork depicts hope and abundance as a testament to the work of mutual aid. However, the context of this work is not a happy one. It is the abandonment and cruelty of the colonial state against which communities of colour continually struggle. This piece is indeed a celebration of people of colour, but it is also one tinged with inevitable grief.
Jiānchí is an immersive experience telling a story about an immigrant’s perseverance using Augmented Reality (AR). "As background, I came to Australia in 2015 with the hopes of a better future. Throughout my time here, I’ve seen many Asian immigrants being discriminated, stereotyped, and facing many obstacles to achieve their dreams in Australia. However, most immigrants have shown a great deal of patience, purpose and perseverance to overcome all odds against them. The beauty of using AR as the medium to convey my art is due to its immersive and expansive nature, allowing the audience to be in an immigrant’s shoes, navigating through the imaginary boundaries and obstacles set up in front of them, while seeing others breeze through effortlessly to arrive at the same destination in the end." Jiānchí encourages the audience to see Asian immigrants beyond pre-conceived stereotypes, celebrating their diverse background and utmost resilience in pursuing a better future for themselves. The word Jiānchí comes from the Chinese pronunciation of 坚持, which means persevere.
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.