Columns
10 years on Image

10 years on

Melbourne Water moving to Docklands
Read more >>

Away from the desk Image

Away from the desk

The little bent tree
Read more >>

Chamber update Image

Chamber update

COVID-19 and Docklands businesses
Read more >>

Docklander Image

Docklander

A staunch Docklander
Read more >>

Docklands Secrets Image

Docklands Secrets

Conflicting speeds
Read more >>

Chinese

墨尔本市长工作寄语
Read more >>

Owners' Corporation Management

Performance-based alternative solutions the key to cheaper cladding replacement costs
Read more >>

Fashion Image

Fashion

Top five street style trends
Read more >>

Health and Wellbeing Image

Health and Wellbeing

Don’t let working from home compromise your health and wellbeing
Read more >>

Letters Image

Letters

Bring on the lasers
Read more >>

Business Image

Business

Something fishy from The Espressionist
Read more >>

Owners Corporation Law Image

Owners Corporation Law

Social distancing in apartment blocks is hard to do, but necessary right now
Read more >>

Maritime

Tyranny of distance?
Read more >>

Pets Corner Image

Pets Corner

Full of Beans!
Read more >>

SkyPad Living Image

SkyPad Living

OC support in a time of COVID-19 - a tale of two cities …
Read more >>

Street Art Image

Street Art

Goodbye from Blender Studios
Read more >>

Sustainability

How fast is fast fashion?
Read more >>

The District

Eat your way through our most delicious hot spots
Read more >>

We Live Here Image

We Live Here

Microorganism dismantles Airbnb - will it ever recover?
Read more >>

Abby's Angle  Image

Abby's Angle

The world is a battlefield. Fight, but without exception, choose kindness
Read more >>

Editions

No Turning Back: “The Torch” at Downtown

28 May 2018

No Turning Back: “The Torch” at Downtown Image

Deakin Downtown is hosting a new exhibition: “No Turning Back – Artworks from The Torch”, until July 13.

The Torch is a not-for-profit organisation seeking to achieve two objectives through the Indigenous Arts in Prisons & Community program:

Through art, cultural and arts vocation, providing a form for cultural exploration, expression and strengthening for members of the indigenous community who are incarcerated; and

Through supporting creative skills and connection to culture, work with participants to find a new way forward on their return to community and reduce recidivism.

The program connects with artists incarcerated and post-release. When artworks are sold and the artist is in prison, the proceeds go directly into a trust for them to access upon release, with interest going to support victims of crime.

If the artist has already been released, they receive the full amount of the selling price immediately.

There are 15 prisons in Victoria, and the latest state budget allocated funding for number 16. Paul McCann is the state wide Indigenous arts officer in prisons at The Torch, responsible for entering the prisons and “connecting men and women with their traditional art, depending on what region they’re from”.

“There’s about 14 main tribes in Victoria, and there’s not a whole lot of information about each individual tribe– there’s more information about some than others,” Mr McCann said.

That means that there is currently one more prison in Victoria than there are tribes that remain definable today. This is starkly indicative of the disproportionate representation of Indigenous people in incarceration across the country.

Maps of language groups across the state, compiled with data and research from different points in time since colonisation, show that there were once many more distinct Indigenous groups in Victoria.

Despite this level of cultural destruction, there is still a wealth of Indigenous artistic traditions continuing today that differ significantly from region to region.

The well-known dot work, for example, is a broad but distinctly northern technique, while southern tribes used much more line work.

The Torch aims to provide guidance and information for its participants tailored to the specific styles of their regions and ancestors.

“When I visit the prisons, I will generally go on their art day and engage with the men and women,” Mr McCann said.

“I try and explain this is traditionally what your mob did. I go in and engage and then its up to them if they want to join the program.”

The feature work at Deakin Downtown’s exhibition (pictured) is by Ray Traplin, a Kuku Yalanji artist from the Port Douglas/Daintree area of North Queensland.

His art is rooted in the tropical region’s Indigenous culture, invoking practices and stories handed down to him from elders.

The feature work, River Dreaming #1, reflects the creation story of the water spirit in the form of a giant snake carving its way across the country.

Share on Facebook

Stay in touch with Docklands. Subscribe to FREE monthly e-Newspaper.

You must be registered with Docklands News to be able to post comments.
To register, please click here.