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National Youth Week 2017

By System Administrator
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Friday 21 April, 2017
The Islamic Museum of Australia successfully received a grant of $2000 from Youth Central Victoria to conduct a Graffiti workshop as part of National Youth Week 2017. National Youth Week is a combined initiative of state, territory and local Governments grounded on celebrating the rich contributions, identities and views of young people (aged 12-25) throughout Australia. Each year, a variety of events are organised giving young people the chance to act upon issues that are personal to them, to grow in their leadership skills and most importantly, to have some fun along the way! On Saturday April 1<sup>st</sup>, a group of twelve enthusiastic students from a range of schools across Melbourne arrived in Melbourne’s North for what would prove to be a day of thrilling aerosol art experimentation. Led by a team of expert aerosol artists including Andrew, Shakeel and our very own IMA Head Curator Jake, students spent the first part of the morning learning about the ethics of graffiti and experimenting with sketching letter forms on A3 paper. Having brainstormed and sketched out ideas that they were keen to see magnified onto the wall, our group of students were then let loose on a selection of almost 90 cans of spray paint and a selection of nibs to control pressure. A thrilling two hours of spray painting followed with students excitedly outlining their individual mural sections onto the wall that was generously donated to us by Vic Constructions, on the side of their giant warehouse and showroom located in Coolaroo. Under the guidance of the facilitators, participants were able to gauge first-hand, some of the challenges of working with this fast-paced art form. Spraying their cans excitedly, the kaleidoscopic array of deep reds blues, greens, black and even some metallic colours fused together on the wall making for a fantastic visual and sensory display. Some students chose to work in groups, working collectively to create a segment of the mural that expressed their diverse identities, a Lebanese flag proudly juxtaposed with a friendly green dragon surrounded by flowers and tags, paint running down the wall adding to the overall effect of the piece. Our group was enthralled by the medium, many never having touched a spray can before this day and even choose to delay their lunch break – enticed by the art and wanting to see the hard works of their labour come to fruition. Standing back and reflecting upon their work once the mural was complete, many students proudly commented that they couldn’t wait to take the train into the city with their friends, as their mural would be visible from the tracks! Others commented that they couldn’t wait to participate in a workshop like this again and that they couldn’t think of a better way to spend their Saturday afternoon! The IMA National Youth Week Graffiti project was a particularly powerful initiative as it aimed to move beyond some of the divisive discourse surrounding graffiti art, emphasising instead the creative flair and beauty of the medium itself. As IMA Head Curator Jake Carter noted: <em>‘</em>For the students that participated in the NYW workshop, this experience offered them an unfounded opportunity to exercise their agency, to enjoy experimenting with a new art form on<em> <strong>their own terms</strong>.’ </em> The workshop considered a roaring success, IMA is pleased that we were able to give these students an opportunity to exercise creative control and enjoy the experience of experimenting with a new medium. For this group of Muslim students in particular, the mural offered an opportunity for them to explore what being a young Australian Muslim means to them in today’s society. IMA is grateful to everyone involved in this project and looks forward to running more graffiti themed workshops in the future!
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