After a hugely successful inaugural year, the Harmony Art Collective
, in collaboration with Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), the Australian Government and aMBUSH Gallery, returns to unite disadvantaged youths aged 15-24 through art.
Having expanded its footprint to WA for the first time, the nationwide initiative will culminate in a breathtaking public exhibition of the works at Darling Quarters OPEN from 12 March 27 April 2018 as part of Harmony Day (21 March).
The project has uncovered some incredible new talent, including Mohamed Bulhan who has lived through attacks on his family in Somalia, to finding empowerment through art; Simon Shahin, a Syrian migrant who went from living just a kilometre away from the terrorist frontline to pursuing photography and Bella Ndayikeze, who has found a safe space to express herself and ignite her creativity far from refugee camp in Tanzania.
The 2018 initiative comes fresh off the success of last years project, which saw over 300 newly arrived migrant youth creating 16 incredible murals from, under the guidance of four of Australias top street artists.
This year, the Harmony Art Collective have recruited another four Australian artists known for incredible urban artworks, including internationally renowned illustrator Jeremyville; the first Archibald Prize-nominated street stenciller, Luke Cornish, aka Elk; one of Australias finest muralist and contemporary street artist, Fintan Magee; and illustration and monochrome mural master, Georgia Hill.
Georgia Hill, Artist said: After seeing the amazing work that was completed for last year's exhibition, I was so excited to be invited to lead two workshops this year. It was incredible to see the resilience and confidence that many of these young people bring to their every-day life, and how this attitude was instilled in unique artworks focusing on hope, positivity, and acceptance.
Between them, the four artists have worked with local community centres in Darwin (NT), Westmead-Girraween (NSW), Wyndham (VIC), Mirrabooka (WA), Ipswich (QLD), and Salisbury (SA) over the past five months.
The exhibition kicks off with a spectacular launch event on 13 March at Lendlease Darling Quarter Theatre. Hosted by much-loved SBS presenter Patrick Abboud, the event will feature an address by the Honourable Alan Tudge MP, Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs.
Alongside the exhibition, the project will also produce four fascinating short documentaries on the national workshops airing on SBS Learn, plus a behind the scenes photography exhibition showcasing works by Sydney photographer Billy Zammit.
Since the Harmony Art Collective began its artistic journey in 2015, celebrating diversity and fostering social cohesion, over 450 youth have been mentored by leading Australian street artists at over 13 locations nationwide, from newly arrived immigrants, to disadvantaged youth and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.
Clare ONeil, Director of Corporate Affairs at SBS said: SBS is proud to bring young people together to strengthen and celebrate their sense of identity, particularly those newly arrived in Australia. Last years Harmony Art Collective was such a success and we saw some amazing work produced by the young artists. SBS is uniquely positioned to deliver this campaign alongside aMBUSH Gallery and the Australian Government, as its core purpose is to inspire all Australians to explore, appreciate and celebrate our diverse world, and by doing so contribute to a more cohesive society.
Bill Dimas, Director, aMBUSH Gallery, said: For us, the Harmony Art Collective is a deeply powerful and meaningful project. We have seen first-hand how it helps Australians understand the experiences of the young migrants who come to our country, and opens a door to empathy. It enables all participants regardless of where they have come from, what hardships they have suffered or what language they speak to express their own story, which in turn connects to the minds and hearts of the next generation of Australians. The Harmony Art Collective gives audiences a true picture of the hopes and aspirations of recently settled migrants, refugees and vulnerable young Australians, and has the power to change perceptions.
SBS has also created a new online learning resource which will enable schools and community centres to run their own workshops. The resource is produced by SBS Learn and is available on their website (www.sbs.com.au/learn).