Within its first year, Footscray Community Arts Centre’s RESIDENCE program has supported more than 30 independent artists and collectives from underrepresented backgrounds to experiment and invest in their creative practice.

Developed in response to the rapid gentrification and lack of affordable creative space in Melbourne’s West, RESIDENCE offers artists and collectives free studio space in Footscray Community Arts Centre’s iconic Henderson House, as well as tailored support with creative development and presentation of new work.

The RESIDENCE program also addresses the inequities in accessing industry opportunities with focused support towards First Nations, culturally and linguistically diverse, LGBTQIA+ and disability artist communities. Recent research published by Australia Council in June shows there is a need for an inclusive approach to participation in Australia’s creative landscape.

“Australia’s arts and culture do not yet reflect the diversity of our people. Many communities who are most engaged with Australia’s arts and culture are also underrepresented, under-resourced or under-compensated for their work,” the Towards Equity report reveals.

Emerging artists Karima Baadilla and Foni Salvatore, also part of the RESIDENCE program, will exhibit their first solo shows at Footscray Community Arts Centre.

“I still find it quite confronting to show my de-colonised painting series to the public,” says Baadilla, who joined the program to work in “a safe space where I can develop my ideas.”

Karima Baadila’s artwork will go on display mid-August, followed by Foni Salvatore in September. Check footscrayarts.com/event for more information.

Karima Baadilla during her time in RESIDENCE. Image by Sophie Timothy.


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