The Torch supports Indigenous artists who are, or have recently been, incarcerated in a correctional facility in Victoria. The Indigenous Arts in Prisons and Community program’s focus is on the role of culture and cultural identity in the rehabilitation processes for Indigenous prisoners. It aims to make a positive change to the disproportionately high rates of Indigenous recidivism by increasing the participation and confidence of participants with the arts industry and engages offenders and ex-offenders in skill development opportunities that are socially and culturally relevant and achievable within the context of their circumstances.
To ensure post release pathways are sustainable, emerging artists are assisted to foster new arts networks and to find vocational art opportunities to increase their levels of legitimate and self generated income.
The program includes the annual CONFINED exhibition, which is the key visual arts event for the City of Port Phillip’s Yalukit Willam Ngargee, Melbourne’s longest running Indigenous arts and cultural festival. The exhibition gives prisoners across the state a forum to show new artworks and tell their stories. Artists post-release also contribute to the exhibition and assist in its preparation and promotion. This year, ‘CONFINED 9’ on show at the Carlisle Street Arts Space, St Kilda, features 170 artists representing numerous language groups from across Australia. Their cultural diversity is expressed through the rich visual range of works; each piece a personal exploration of identity and connection to Culture and Country.
Another key event of the the Yalukit Willam Ngargee festival is ‘Dhumbadha Munga – Talking Knowledge’ which opens on Wednesday 7 February from 6.30-8pm at Alliance Française Eildon Gallery, Melbourne. Dhumbadha Munga (talking knowledge), in the language of the Boon Wurrung people, looks at the two-way relationship between the arts workers at The Torch and the men and women they support. Through dhumbadha munga, the artists learn, develop and reinforce their cultural identity to express and share their stories. Artists include: Graham Gilbert, Veronica Hudson, Jeffrey Jackson, Paul McCann, Kent Morris, Ray Thomas, Ray Traplin, Raymond Young and Robby Wirramanda.
Carlisle Street Arts Space
14 February to 14 March, 2018
Dhumbadha Munga – Talking Knowledge
Alliance Française Eildon Gallery
7 February to 28 March, 2018