Nine regional SA creatives form the first ever Art Squad

Nine young, regional South Australians have been selected to join the Art Squad, a creative youth program built to identify and nurture the next generation of creative leaders in regional South Australia.

Initiated through a partnership between Carclew and Country Arts SA, Art Squad comprises of creative young people aged 18-23 years, living in regional, rural or remote South Australia, who want to build their own creative career pathways while also delivering arts programs within their own communities.

The selected nine represent the vast expanse of South Australia with two participants from Port Lincoln and one each from Wudinna, Ceduna, Whyalla, Renmark, Encounter Bay, Kingscote, and Mount Gambier. The artists’ diverse backgrounds include digital media and filmmaking, muralists, physical theatre and dance.

They will be supported over the next two years by Creative Producer Alysha Hermann to generate and deliver creative projects in their communities and support other members to do the same in their own regions. Art Squad will provide them with ‘wrap-around’ support, professional development, peer and experimental learning, mentoring and a team framework for the successful applicants to develop and deliver projects in their regions. Members have shown interest or currently practice in a variety of art forms such as digital media which can include film, photography, audio, music making and podcasting; visual arts and crafts including murals and mosaics; performing arts and dance.

“I started my own journey into the arts as a 19 year old through a regional youth arts project in 2004. I’ve been so lucky since then to have incredible mentors and opportunities to develop my own skills and a meaningful career as a regional artist and arts worker,” said Alysha.

“Art Squad is about deliberately identifying and nurturing the next generation of regional creative leaders as they forge their own pathways. It’s about providing them with all the connections and opportunities I had and hopefully a few that I didn’t. I’m so excited to start working with this inspiring bunch of young creative leaders – who are already doing incredible things – to see what we can make happen next in regional South Australia.”

Art Squad members will collaborate through a virtual meeting platform, in addition to individual sessions and an annual face-to-face catch up with the whole group to connect and support each other over this time. Three members will also accompany Alysha to the biennial Artlands Conference in Victoria later this month for their own professional development.

Meet the Squad

Ashleigh Darrie – 21, Encounter Bay

Ashleigh is a Kokatha woman who is passionate about contemporary Aboriginal art. She is a painter and make-up artist who loves everything glitter. After discovering her love for art shortly following her 2015 graduation from high school, Ashleigh has become interested in the idea of forming a ‘mural crew’ who travel from town to town, spreading colourful joy through rural communities. “I have always believed that the best way to show communities that young people aren’t ‘the problem’ or aren’t ‘troublemakers’ is to show them making a difference IN the community, for everyone, whether this is in the form of a youth advisory committee or a mural crew.”

Lyall Ware-Campbell – 19, Ceduna

Lyall is a proud Aboriginal man and the oldest of 6 siblings. His practice is in digital media (film, photography, audio, music making) and he is passionate about setting up a local media centre. He has been working with the Far West Languages Centre based in Ceduna creating short documentaries and photography. “I hope to improve my digital skills in digital media through both filming and photography and someday give back to the community and the younger generations.”

Ashton Filmer – 23, Wudinna

Ashton is a muralist and visual artist. He was involved in a very serious car accident four years ago and discovered art whilst wheelchair-bound in the 12 months following through rehabilitation. While some basic artistic skills were there before the accident, a major artistic streak came out due to a permanent left side brain injury where his creative right side was realised. Ashton would like to produce a creative cartoon mural symbolising his community as well as working with nearby communities such as Minnipa.

Belili Valkyrie – 20, Port Lincoln

Belili is a creative leader in her local community contributing her time to youth arts group Passionis Productions and their visual arts group and to MTC Dance. Belili was born in Port Lincoln but is a dual UK citizen. She sees herself as a citizen of the world but is deeply committed to supporting Port Lincoln to thrive in any way she can. Belili attended the Youth Arts Facilitator HotHouse in Whyalla. “I feel humbled and excited to chosen to be a part of the Art Squad. Can’t wait to see this opportunity allow me to connect and grow and help others to do the same!”

Eliza Wuttke – 22, Port Lincoln

Eliza is inspired by art with purpose and has always been a maker, doer and creator. Throughout her childhood she always kept her hands busy with building, sewing, drawing, cooking, writing or inventing. “I love living in regional SA and value arts and crafts for the wellness of myself and my community. I would love to see the development of a maker space in her community where creative people can socialise, connect and create.”

Matilda Sweeney – 19, Whyalla

Matilda is always making. She loves trying different art mediums and some of her favourites have been paper art, quilling, mosaics, land art, felting and textiles. Matilda is studying to be an early childhood teacher and hopes to work with the local council to create some street or land art and is especially interested in exploring mosaic furniture.

Nathan Woodrow – 18, Renmark

Nathan is an entrepreneur and creative thinker who is also interested in filmmaking and podcasting. He founded clothing label Ryde Clothing when he was only 16, which now sells online and through six stores in South Australia and one in NSW. “I’m interested in the intersection between business and creativity and I’d like to explore creating a summer festival inspiring people to do what they love.”

Isaac Doman – 19, Kingscote

Isaac is an emerging film-maker based on Kangaroo Island. He is currently writing a script about a young person who young person who wishes to improve the world’s problems with clones, but the results prove to be the polar opposite.

Isaac was diagnosed with Autism and is proud of his unique perspectives and determination. “I have a keen interest in filmmaking, script writing and acting and am inspired by the work of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. I would love to see film-making workshops with local schools on Kangaroo Island.”

Zawadi Rashidi – 23, Mount Gambier

Zawa loves to dance and is passionate about bridging the gap between her African community and the wider community of Mount Gambier and beyond. “I want to create a dance, music and video experience that will tell my story as a one-year old refugee in the Congo and travelling to Australia. Using my story will hopefully open up conversations about different communities within regional South Australia and connect young people through the program.” Public Facebook page – Z Girls Africana.