45 diverse Victorian artists reflect on this year’s challenges in Shelter

MAV-Mantra-Magic-Artwork by-Amicus-AtmanA unique commissions program that engaged 45 diverse Victorian artists to reflect on this year’s challenges and to reimagine our relationship with the world, both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, Multicultural Arts Victoria (MAV) presents Shelter.

MAV CEO Veronica Pardo said that in delivering Shelter, MAV hoped to understand and engage with the ways in which culturally diverse creatives are experiencing this moment. “Shelter highlighted the paradoxes of strength/vulnerability, struggle/resilience and isolation/community which are often framed as opposing forces,” she said.

“Through Shelter and the perspectives of diverse artists, we will be challenged to broaden our understanding of the human condition. This is the essence of cultural leadership and we hope Shelter will be the first of many such opportunities,” said Ms Pardo.

Among the works presented is Qôca – a photographic series by Ammar Yonis in which young men with afro-textured hair navigate their way through professional spaces joyfully while asserting dominance and comfort.

Qôca aims to address the anxieties people with afro-textured hair experience in corporate settings and to explore the freedom that could prevail if social stigmas relating to afro-textured hair didn’t exist,” said Ammar Yonis.

Other works featured in Shelter include: Home(s), a short video work by Mimo Mukii which expresses the many ways in which they feel a sense of home; and Chrysos, poems that explore the concept of hopefulness and resilience by arts and literary critic and journalist Thuy On.

Audio Pandemic by Ali Choudry and Dr. Matthew Latif – a novel and timely project that creatively uses the processes of ‘data sonification’, ‘data visualization’ and ‘algorithmic composition’ to create a collection of mesmerising audio-visual representations of the COVID-19 virus.

Kibou (Hope) Amongst Chaos by contemporary sound and video artist Ai Yamamoto is an atmospheric audio-visual piece representing the light and dark of existence; and Vain by young Yorta Yorta artist Madi Colville Walker is an original new song about moving on, inspired by personal growth and taking the time to listen to herself during quarantine.

A response to feeling so far from South Africa during the Corona virus crisis, Candy Bowers’ She takes shelter in her body is a series of digital collages with words; and drawing from influences across the world, Amicus Atman explores a variety of psychedelic art styles to create still and moving imagery in Mantra.

MAV has recently announced the launch of Shelter 2 – which will engage creatives of colour residing in the Flemington and North Melbourne public housing estates affected by the hard lockdown in July. The creatives will create new works that explore their lived experiences and reflections on this unprecedented event.

For more information about Shelter 1, including a full list of participating artists and their work, visit: www.mav.org.au for details.

Image: Mantra Magic (detail) – Artwork by Amicus Atman