Thursday, February 8, 2018

Thought on building inclusion

For those who couldn't make the opening of my exhibition, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts around building inclusive communities especially in the arts. 

This week we marked the tenth anniversary of the 'Sorry Speech' in Federal Parliament, this it was significant that my exhibition opened this week. The original owners on this land needed to fight for the right to vote; establish their intelligence and still struggle to gain leadership in 'our culture'.  I believe the answer to the social issues and their social identity lie with in 'the mob' and can only be addressed by its elders.

My hope for my exhibition is to open a discussion on inclusion and diversity. A diversity that those who attended my opening represent. In creating my exhibition, those who attended have influenced its creation as we are woven into the fabric of this community. 


Your influence has come from the gift of art materials, inspiration, ideas and the gifts of love and respect, I receive from each of you. I want to thank you for sharing this journey.

This journey started as a student at the Brisbane Institute of art in 2015.  My tutor reasoned if I insisted in painting in perfect faces that I paint them on dolls.  It was a time of great change in politicises.  I was very much caught up in campaigning for the induction of what we now know as the ndis. A system the productivity commissioner hoped would increase the social and economic participation rates of people with disabilities.  The arts is one area that could lift those participation rates.

I have vivid memories of teaching myself to hand stitch and many needle pricks along the way. I though artists should be entitled to blood money. Mia continued to push me and extend my skills and knowledge of this medium and I am grateful.  I am indebted to the staff of BIA who pushed to do better even in Allan's class where my skills up me at the top. 

'Find something new to challenge you. Don't come to class to play with mediums you've already mastered. ' 

For me this was a turning point, I could well and truly hold my own in the art world and my disability was truly in significant.  


Mia challenged me to use my dolls to make statements. If I insisted on painting faces, then I should put them on dolls and make visual statements, because in essence that is who I am as a person.  That class produced Danny Dare and Scarlet both are pat of this exhibition.

In a world that searches for perfection we struggle to find the really beauty within a person's soul just because they look different to ourselves.

So when I was painting dolls at that start  of 2016, I knew this was my next exhibition, and I aired this with Nancy Brown.  She suggested I stop painting and start sewing,  them memories of needle pricks and blood on my work were still raw. I am very glad two years later, I accepted this challenge to present this body of work to you night. 

Each of you is a square of fabric woven into my life or the arts community.  We are the diversity I seek to foster, nurture, and grow in Ipswich. As we sew our quilt together we all contribute different things.  Without the gifts you bring to our community the quilt is incomplete and our riches lest enjoyed. 

Missing from this patch work are the skills of many artists with disabilities and mental illness.  Due to barriers to high to climb, but this is a discussion of another time.  Just to highlight one barrier of communication, regardless of the quality of an artist's portfolio, if you can't not read or write you can not complete a competition entry form or gallery application without support; you may not have internet access or if you are non-verbal, you maybe dependent on a advocate who knows nothing about art to make enquiry calls to galleries on your behalf. 

My dolls with out faces represent the voiceless.

Let's face it the arts industry is a highly competitive field and income never is  guaranteed. An artist's portfolio should speak for itself, artists with genuine support needs, don't want hand-outs nor do not need the rules of competition bent. To be fully included is to play by the rules.

By Judith Baker

We just assist us to complete the paperwork or computer forms to get our work in the public forum. I want to thank the members of Arts Connect who are supporting my in this challenge in 2018.  We together are working on a project named a few days ago 'Hearing Our Voice', this is the first project I know of; to support professional development of artists living with challenges in Ipswich not driven by me or a disability provider.  

The project was kicked start by our Glen Smith, this means our voices are being herd and I very much looking forward to working with others to make the project a reality.  

A thank you to my special friend Mieke 'mum' for your guidance, love and patience in bring my exhibition together and agreeing to open the exhibition together.  

I hope you will visit my exhibition and join the discussion on diversity and building inclusion in our community.  

Melting Pot
Now showing at Drawing Point Gallery
Ipswich Arttime Supplies
203 Brisbane Street Ipswich.

Opening Hours 

Mondays 9 am to 2 pm
Tuesday to Fridays 9 am to 5 pm
Saturdays 9 am to 1 pm

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