Melbourne’s Western Suburbs is renowned for being a thriving hub of arts and cultural activity. Located at the cusp of where the inner city meets the west, Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC) is the heart of creativity – an independent precinct where artists from all walks of life can connect, take risks and be supported to develop their practice.
This vibrancy is currently on show at FCAC, with three exhibitions currently exploring different communities’ connection to place.
“Melbourne’s West is a vibrant melting pot of different cultures”, says Singaporean/Australian artist Nabilah Nordin, whose work is being exhibited is part of CONNECT, opening 22 May at FCAC.
Nordin’s family first moved to Point Cook when they migrated to Australia, and she looks forward to re-engaging the local creative community when she moves back to Newport next month.
“Artists play a big role in how society develops, and informing how we live and our culture”, says Boon Wurrung artist Mitch Mahoney, who currently works at Melbourne Museum, and recently developed 3-month community art project Weaving Sustainable Culture , which is now exhibited proudly in the FCAC garden.
Winning the Local Acquisitions Category for the recently announced Footscray Art Prize has enabled local artist Simon Clark to legitimise his creative practice. His award-winning work Gaskin Gardens, 2020 features the architectural facade of a public housing building where the elderly residents of Sunshine live. This work is currently exhibited at FCAC as part of Footscray Art Prize amongst 38 other works.
“It examines the social aspect of people who live in the west and how they lived through COVID”, says Clark.
The rising cost of living in Melbourne’s western suburbs has also made it more difficult for early career artists trying to establish themselves.
“You get more cafes, but a lot of people are getting priced out, especially artists who often don’t make enough money. All artists need somewhere they can go, to make paintings or a lot of noise.”
Writer and self-professed anthropological observer Jack Nicholls has lived in Yarraville for the last 2 years, and being part of FCAC’s RESIDENCE program has provided them with the emotional support to call themselves a serious artist, opening doors to connect with emerging and established artists.
“Space is very expensive and a lot of organisations do have space that could be utilised differently. Every office space could have its own live-in artist!”, says Nicholls.
Why not come and take a look at what’s on offer?
Weaving Sustainable Culture will be exhibiting until 30 May, Footscray Art Prize will be exhibiting until 5 June, and CONNECT will be exhibiting until 20 June.
Photos: Simon Strong (portrait of Nabilah Nordin)