Multicultural Arts Victoria (MAV) has been working in partnership with Mary Anwat and Vicki Kinai to facilitate a new Emerge Incubator weaving project, Innovate. This mentoring program was developed by the two weavers who are both Emerge Ambassadors, Mary from Melton, and Vicki from Hoppers Crossing.
“Innovate has provided a dynamic space for established weaver Mary Anwat to reinvigorate her work through mentoring and collaboration with weaver & educator Vicki Kinai, which has inspired the creation of new weaving work using recycled materials and cross-cultural techniques”
MAV Chief Executive Officer Jill Morgan.
“Over the past month, Vicki, Mary and fellow South Sudanese distinguished weaver Mrs Nyantiok Jiel, have been developing work for an exhibition at the Dream Big Festival in Melton South in September. A series of basket weaving workshops leading up to the Dream Big Festival have also enabled community members to learn weaving and basket making skills from Mary Anwat. They have also connected in many other cultural ways through the mentoring process, and are planning to establish an artists’ collective to benefit their communities. This is a fantastic unexpected outcome of the program.”
Mary Anwat is a community leader in Melton, and has been exhibiting and running weaving workshops in Australia since 2004. “I needed to use a different approach or incorporate other materials in my weaving to be authentic and more practical, innovative and creative,” says Mary. “I need to be inspired and uplifted because I have been feeling isolated.” Vicki had been in the same situation some years ago, and the two weavers connected to build a support program together.
Vicki Kinai is highly recognised for practicing the traditional Bilum weaving, an integral culture of women in PNG. For Vicki, living overseas has inspired and deepened her awareness of the importance to practice and preserve this traditional craft.
Nyantiok Jiel is a recently arrived weaver from Sudan. Mary says, “She makes all sorts of things in different sizes that I really admired. I want to maintain friendship so I have someone to look upon whenever I need help or advice for weaving. I also want to introduce her to my young children so that they know, an elderly person is passionate and does the same weaving as me.”
The Innovate project will culminate in an exhibition of the new works on 15-16 September, 12noon – 8pm, at the Dream Big Festival at Melton South Community Centre. The artists will display their work and invite friends, family and the local community to come and enjoy their creations. Innovate is an outcome of Multicultural Arts Victoria and Gandel Philanthropy’s Emerge Cultural Leadership program. It is a unique initiative that celebrates and acknowledges newly arrived, emerging, culturally diverse and First Nations artists and communities in their local areas, and provides tangible opportunities for cross-cultural sharing, celebration and connection with the wider community. One of the aims of the project is to build local capacity for emerging communities in outer metropolitan Melbourne.
Launch: Friday 15 September 2017, 2:30pm
Exhibition Opening Hours: 15 September– 16 September, Fri 2:30am-5:30pm, Sat 12pm – 4pm
Address: Melton South Community Centre, 41 Exford Rd Melton South
Media inquiries: Miriam Abud at firstname.lastname@example.org
Innovate project and exhibition is supported by Gandel Philanthropy and Djerriwarrh Health Services’ Linking Melton South project and the Festival for Healthy Living, with special thanks to Melton South Uniting Church