Arts as diverse as our people.

MAV has a profound commitment to arts and artists shaping the narratives that define who we are as a multicultural nation.

Diasporas 2023

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

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.

Creatives

Meet the artists and communities

Maura García

Dancer, Choreographer and Erotic Artist

Maura García inspires audiences to liberate themselves through vibrant performances that uplift Indigenous cultural values and harness the sensual rhythms of the natural world. Maura (non-enrolled Cherokee/Mattamuskeet) is a dancer, choreographer and erotic artist. From stages to music videos to the outdoors, her creations reflect the power of stories to form and change our realities.

Miriam Abud

Arts Worker and Musician

Miriam has worked in arts, communication and education. She was born, lives and works on Wurundjeri Country. She has been a musician most of her life, and is inspired by the power of art and community to transform lives and places. She has held a variety of roles at MAV, from administration to project officer, community engagement coordinator to festival programmer, and has elsewhere produced events, radio programs and established a catering business. She has a Graduate Diploma of Education, a Diploma of Music Performance and a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Paul Ah Chee 'Ngala'

Artist, Director at Ngala Music

Artist, Director at Ngala Music Paul Ah Chee is a proud Arrernte - Yankuntjarra and Wankangurru man from Alice Springs. Paul began his music journey as a young boy and in due course he formed the renowned Mparntwe/Alice Springs band, AMUNDA, in the late 80s. Over the ten-year period, the band enjoyed great success performing at major national festivals including Big Day Out, Sing Loud Play Strong, Survival, Barunga, Adelaide Fringe, Port Fairy and Moomba Festival, they eventually disbanded in 1997. His latest album best described as Contemporary Australian Soulful Rock, NowhereTo Hide features Paul’s talents as a powerfully evocative lyricist, singer, guitarist and composer. In this record, Paul reflects on attachment and connection to land, identity and experiences of trauma, finding ways to reframe and express these in a positive light. The record is a tribute to understanding where you have come from to move forward, presenting yourself as you are – with nowhere to hide. Paul has recently successfully performed songs off of his EP 'Nowhere to Hide' along with songs from his previous releases at the 2022 Sydney Fringe Festival over 5 nights.

Katie Symes

Producer Homelands and Music Victoria

Katie is co-producer (a role she shares with Maurial Spearim) of international touring music project the Homelands Collective bringing young and established First Nations singer-songwriters to connect stories and songs across oceans through music mentoring workshops and live performance opportunities at festivals and gatherings around the world. Katie’s years of experience in the music industry as a producer, artist and tour manager has seen her travel extensively to regional and remote locations, nationally and internationally working with numerous inspirational songwriters, musicians and music professionals.

Allara

Storyteller, Composer, Director, Producer, Musician and Soundscape Designer

Allara is a powerful Yorta Yorta winyarr. She is a storyteller, composer, director, producer, musician and soundscape designer. With humour and integrity, Allara uses the double-bass and sound samples from Country to weave textures for healing in her work “I am Sovereign, I am Free”. Allara's innovative music speaks to Blak justice and sovereignty.

Jackie Sheppard

Performer, Storyteller, Dancer and Workshop Facilitator

Jackie Sheppard is a mixed medium performer, storyteller, dancer and workshop facilitator. Their creations are inspired by the multilayered narratives of Sovereign peoples. Jackie attempts to identify and interrogate Ancestral, Inter-generational and meta-physical narratives that are relative to Blak lived experiences. Focusing on Somatic, Spiritual and Sub-conscious “bodies”, Jackie seeks to shed light in dark places, exploring taboo and complex topics. They have studied dance at NAISDA Dance College, Acting at WAAPA’s Aboriginal Theatre Course, and are presently studying Somatic Movement Therapy (SMT) where they are working towards a reclamation process of Indigenous Embodied practices. Jackie has extensive experience in community engagement and has worked in a diverse range of spaces nationally. Their work encompasses using bodywork & storytelling to cultivate inner awareness and truth-telling in Bla(c)k, People of Colour and LQBTQI+ communities (Creatives of Colour; Serpent Spirals, Koorie Pride Victoria & Switchboard VIC). Jackie has been a guest lecturer at the Victorian College of the Arts for the Master of Dance student Cohort. They have experience in circus, puppetry & writing. Some notable projects Jackie has co-devised are: The Honouring (a solo show created & performed by Jacki Sheppard with creative guidance and direction by Rachael Maza, Tim Denton, Jasmin Sheppard, Rinske Ginsberg & Jacob Boehme); Chasing Smoke (Casus Circus); Wild Australia – Men in Chains by Jacki Sheppard; & Crackpipe Dreaming @ Melbourne Fringe Festival, 2019. Jackie has recently been appointed by Koorie Pride Victoria as First Nations Creative Coodinator for new festival, ‘FesTevares’; And is officially embarking on their new ongoing research project, ‘SENTIENCE’, through the Art X Science Residency through Arts House and the Science Gallery Melbourne.

MAV Arts

Explore the works

Canción de Despedida by Vanessa Estrada

Vanessa Estrada

Cancion de despedida, the song chosen to create this piece of work is an intimate and personal experience, which tells my story of love, farewell, letting go and moving on. It is the story of a woman having to overcome a rupture, a loss, being away from home. It is a story of resilience that I needed to tell through image as well as music. and movement, as I wanted to express the feeling with my whole body and create a real ritualistic experience of healing and empowerment. The song itself is a South American rhythm which mixes elements of the Chilean cueca and Argentinean Chacarera, since the moment I decided to produce a video, I had the idea of including the dance and the handkerchief as a symbolism of my own culture. With the director (Gabriela Gonzalez), and the choreographer (Kathleen Gonzalez) we explored the ideas of different and symbolic ways of saying good bye to a loved one. Through empowerment, movement, and specific elements of my own culture in the clothing, accessories and choreography. We had weekly meetings with Kathleen Gonzalez (choreographer) to produce the choreography, we studied the elements of the "Cueca" and the "Chacarera" dance, we created our own version of them and incorporated contemporary movements. We decided to use the hood and handkerchief symbols as a way of representing the "letting go" and "liberation" feelings. With Gabriela Gonzalez (director), we had weekly meetings to decide the location (Blue lake in Bundoora) and work on the script, the story, the outfits, the art. Gabriela and I share a strong connection with my story, and we knew what we wanted to express, therefore it was easy to make decisions. Neisha Smith did a fantastic work in creating the outfits and having an incredible input in the art of the project. The rest of the production team did an amazing work in understanding the needs of the work, the expectations and the sentiment in general. I am very thankful of every single person involved in this project. This work exceeded all my expectations, I am incredible grateful for receiving the support to create this beautiful piece of art. This project gave me healing, a voice, a space and opened so many new doors in my artistic career. I am extremely happy to be one of the artists of AHEAD OF THE CURVE program and have this extra support to exhibit my work alongside many other amazing local artists. Its so important for us independent artists to have this spaces and opportunities. Thanks to MAV and my amazing team for making this possible and believing in my art.

We are the Lifeless by Madhubani Dutta

Madhubani Dutta

This project is aimed to bring back the focus on simple pleasures and findings in life that can restore mindfulness and harmony. During the pandemic, we were stuck in the house for months with no hope of what the future awaited and the only thought most of us had was freedom. The home provided us with the shelter we needed, the shelter of comfort and protection however the desperation to go out in the world was so extreme. We struggled to meet our loved ones, go on a picnic, enjoy a toastie at a local cafe or go shopping. The news said it could take weeks for the lockdown to be lifted as COVID cases were multiplying rapidly. And so were mental health, depression and anxiety issues. People felt stranded and locked in their safest havens. I realised that the repercussion of the pandemic made people unsee the many things in and around our house that constantly thrives in making our lives happy and comfortable. Every corner of our homes has a story to tell, every piece of decoration we have installed has a process of planning behind it, every random object narrates a memory and every part of that favourite pillow moulds towards ensuring a good night's sleep. And yet we complained and complained that it was getting impossible to stay home. This photography project captures the untold stories of the many objects that our home contains and inspires the audience to take a moment and cherish the voices of the lifeless world and their relationships with its residents. We often forget to value what we have and understand what matters; we tend to focus on what we don't have and forget to embrace the existence of big-little items around the house that make us feel at home. What would our rooms look like without these items? What if you wake up and find those objects vanished from the shelf? What if they just walk away from your life because you didn’t care enough?

Eating the Other by Jazba Singh

Jazba Singh

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 by Panda Wong

Panda Wong

"‘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."

Growing inside by Karena Bravo

Karena Bravo

"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 by Angelita Biscotti

Angelita Biscotti

"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."

Who we are

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.

Vision

Arts as diverse as our people.

Purpose

We champion culturally diverse artists and communities to create systems of cultural production and participation that uphold equity and self-determination.

MAV Values

We champion culturally diverse artists and communities

Diversity

We privilege non-western ways of doing, knowing and being, to tell stories that illuminate our humanity and improve intercultural understanding;

Equality

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;

Trust

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

Courage

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.