I'm a children's book author, radio presenter of 'By the Book' for Radio Northern Beaches, and freelance writer. Check out www.brydiewright.com for more about
Art With Heart
For thirty-three years, the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation (BGF) has worked tirelessly to provide care and support for people living with HIV. With this in mind, I was delighted to attend the launch of the foundation's 2017 Mardi Gras festival event, the 'HIV heART' exhibition.
The exhibition is a collection of inspired artworks produced by gifted participants of BGF's Phoenix Art program 2016 cohort, and supported by a grant from City of Sydney Council. The clever title of the exhibition was chosen by the artists themselves to demonstrate their love and passion for art, and as a testament to the program's role in fulfilling their lives.
A colourful interpretation of city windows expressed through artist Taha's 'Triptych'
Since 2011, the Phoenix Art program, based in Pine Street Creative Arts Centre, Chippendale, has provided a sense of artistic purpose and community for artists living with HIV and a channel for self expression and preserving artistic legacy.
The sentiment behind this year's Phoenix Art exhibition, the first to provide the artists with an opportunity to sell their works, is joy of expression and this shines through the collection, masterfully curated by Ian Barnett and Natalya Shinn.
Lorraine Hall, BGF President, proudly launched the exhibition to a packed gallery of artists and supporters, praising the program for its ability to bring like-minded people together in a community of interest, enabling them to create art through friendship and togetherness.
At the launch of HIV heART from left to right: Richard Kennedy, Lorraine Hall, Ian Barnett, Hagi and MP Jenny Leong
I was struck by the way this feeling of collectivity resonated through the works on display. Every one of them was uplifting and positive, with a common (though not exclusive) thread of celebrating urban vistas in Sydney. The art is also highly accessible and relatable, without affectation. I would 'heartily' recommend it as an exhibition with broad appeal and well worth inclusion on your Mardi Gras festival itinerary this week.
'Pine Street' and 'Portrait #1' from prolific exhibition artist Reuben Godfrey
And though the Parade on Saturday 4th March is a phenomenal flagship event, I believe it is exhibitions like HIV HeART that define what the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival is really all about; an opportunity to foster awareness and appreciation for the people of this rich, diverse and creative community.
I honestly found something of appeal in each and every one of the paintings on display and enjoyed spotting well known places of interest from the Sydney CBD and the harbour foreshore. I was especially honoured to meet and chat with one of the exhibition's most prolific artists, Hagi, whose five works span city and harbour scapes from Mogadishu to Darling Point. Memories from a very interesting life so far, preserved in art.
Proceeds of sales from the exhibition artworks over the next week, will support BGF's funding for the Phoenix Art Program. A postcard collection of works from HIV HeArt is also available to buy for $15, again with proceeds supporting the work of the foundation and its artists.
The exhibition is hosted in the heart of Glebe, at The Shop Gallery space, close to restaurants, cafes and bars, so make the very most of your Mardi Gras week and support the work of passionate artists, on show every day until Tuesday 7 March.