Art x Activism
Art x Activism
Can art as action have the power to generate social and political change?
Join us in-conversation with leading artists working across mental health, climate change, cultural resurgence and social and political justice, as they discuss art as a catalyst for change.
Ryan Presley – Visual Artist + Academic
Anisa Nandaula – Spoken Word Poet, Author + Actor
Bianca Tainsh – Artist + Activist
Emily Coleman – Acting Associate Artistic Director of Digi Youth Arts + Creative Producer
Spectator Jonze – Digital Illustrator + Musician (Jaguar Jonze)
About the artists
Anisa is a nationally recognised spoken word poet, play writer, educator and published author. She is the 2016 ‘Queensland Poetry Slam’ champion and runner up for the ‘Australian Poetry Slam Championships’. In 2017 she published her first book Melanin Garden and won the ‘XYZ Innovation in Spoken Word Prize’. She has performed at the Sydney Opera house, Splendour in the Grass, Queensland Poetry Festival, Women of the World Festival and toured the country sharing stories of love and courage.
Anisa is also the co-founder of the arts collective ‘Voices of Colour’ which creates spaces for migrant, refugee and first nations artists to share their work.
Utilising a variety of media and contemporary methods, Australian artist Bianca Tainsh creates experiential spaces. Projections, sound, assemblages and performance all merge to inspire reflection on contemporary dilemmas. Through theoretical frameworks and narrative, audiences are invited to engage deeply with issues such as climate change, mass consumerism, and the search for autonomy and spirituality in the digital age.
By generating these intimate moments of connection with the audience, Bianca’s projects endeavour to reverberate outside of the exhibition space and realise actual social transformation.
Emily Coleman is an emerging multidisciplinary creative artist and a fiercely proud Bundjalung Githabul woman from a long line of strong storytelling women. As a thank you, to everyone that came before- her work has and will always focus on the magic in Indigenous Storytelling.
Emily has worked in the arts for over a decade in a huge variety of roles, from stage performer & touring 'arts in education' actor, to Community Engagement & Creative Producer - but her most recent and biggest achievement was being appointed as the Acting Associate Artistic Director of Digi Youth Arts.
Dr. Ryan Presley is a Brisbane-based visual artist and academic working across a variety of artistic mediums and expressions – including print-making, oil painting, sculpture and new media. His father’s family is Marri Ngarr originating from the Moyle River region in the Northern Territory, while his mother’s family were Scandinavian immigrants. His work draws from experiences central to his own mixed heritage by questioning and negating historical and contemporary contexts and providing alternate insights into the sociocultural nature of colonial Australia, past and present.
Presley’s incredible body of work has been shown widely and is held in collections right across Australia. His most prominent body of work is Blood Money, an ongoing series of watercolour paintings that take visual cues from Australia's polymer banknotes, but feature highly detailed portraits of formidable Aboriginal leaders and symbols.
SPECTATOR JONZE AKA DEENA LYNCH AKA JAGUAR JONZE
Spectator Jonze is the moniker of the artist behind Deena Lynch. Lynch was born in Yokohama, Japan to a Taiwanese mother and an Australian father. She migrated to Australia under less than certain circumstances when she was 6 years old. Lynch grew up in many different homes under many different situations and circumstances. She was not quite an orphan, but didn’t quite belong anywhere.
Throughout her childhood and adolescence this put Lynch in touch with a myriad of people and demons, coming from disjointed backgrounds themselves, or from positions of power. Having experienced physical and sexual abuse throughout this time, it pushed Lynch into the safety of PTSD where suppression, depression and dissociation became a survival tactic.
Having always carried a creative mind, it was only natural that Lynch used art and music as an outlet. Spectator Jonze is the culmination of self-discovery and healing that has evolved into a people project of passion, bringing mental health to light by depicting the often-taboo subject of our individual battles.