Cohealth arts generator (formerly Barkly Arts Centre) works in partnership with individuals and communities who experience limited access to arts and cultural opportunities. Through participatory arts practice Cohealth arts generator aims to increase wellbeing and agency by unlocking creative potential and building connections to the broader community.
Cohealth arts generator (CAG) embraces diversity enhances cultural identity and community connection through artistic expression; underpinned by equity and social justice. Cohealth Arts Generator is a division of Cohealth Limited and is located in the warehouse building at Footscray Community Arts Centre.
CAG runs a dynamic program of cross arts projects that engage a wide range of community members in collaborative and individual arts practice. CAG supports the development of emerging artists from culturally diverse communities and facilitates opportunities for established artists to collaborate with western region communities.
CAG provides access to arts opportunities to young people from culturally diverse communities, people experiencing mental illness and homelessness, refugees, residents of low cost housing including Barkly Hotel, community housing, Supported Residential services, public housing and Indigenous Australians in Melbourne’s western suburbs. CAG produces quality public outcomes through a process of meaningful collaboration coupled with high production values. These outcomes include exhibitions, performances and installations.
The program is run by two part time staff and employs wide range of artist contractors. CAG produces at least two in-house exhibitions and a range of partnered performance events each calendar year.
Liss Gabb – creative producer, director, curator
Liss is the program co-ordinator at cohealth arts generator, a participatory arts space that is a division of Cohealth limited. Liss has extensive experience in the designing of, implementing and managing arts based projects with marginalised communities. Liss provides the artistic leadership of the program, which serves a diverse population of social housing tenants, clients of Cohealth Limited and established and emerging migrant communities. Central to Liss’ practice is the creation of powerful, authentic artwork through a process of meaningful collaboration with community members. Liss is co-creative producer of MASSIVE, Australia first Hip Hop Choir. As a collaborating artist Liss has created a number of multimedia installations for broad audiences these include Free World at Federation Square, Melbourne Festival 2009 and Lotus Effect (Dante’s Gallery) in 2004. Liss has specialised in using the arts to engage with vulnerable children and young people in a range of disadvantaged communities. Liss is currently undertaking her Masters of Arts (Art in Public Space) at RMIT. .
Mary Quinsacara– lead hip-hop artist, community cultural development officer
As a Hip-Hop artist and activist Mary lives the dream of merging her love of hip- hop culture with a social justice sensibility. Chilean born and Mornington Peninsula grown, she is highly skilled at working with young people in arts based projects that supports them to grow, connect and create great art. Mary has worked as a lead hip hop artist, project co-ordinator, creative producer and mentor for a wide range of community organisations across Melbourne. More recently she’s spearheaded the development of Steady Buildin Community – a collective of arts practitioners whom use the hip-hop form as a tool for social change. She is also one of the first female rap artists in Australia and has played a key role in breaking down barriers for women emcees in Australian hip hop. Mary is co-creative producer of MASSIVE Hip Hop choir. Mary aka Querator has recently launched an album Spirit Level (as half of the duo Illevel) on Nuffsaid Records.
REGULAR CONTRACTED COLLABORATORS:
Andrea and Valanga Khoza – Khoza Entertainment
Andrea Khoza is a highly experienced professional singer, songwriter, vocal teacher and workshop tutor. Based in Melbourne she has been working as a professional musician for the past 14 years, participating in a broad range of musical events. Andrea co-founded the award winning all-female vocal quartet, Akasa; has sung and recorded with musicians such as Valanga Khoza and King Marong; has co directed The Melbourne Millennium Chorus and City of Melbourne’s Sing for Water. Andrea has been integral to the development of the MASSIVE hip hop choir repertoire.
Valanga Khoza engages students of all backgrounds with personal anecdotes which highlight his experiences of racism. Growing up under the system of apartheid in South Africa then traveling the world in exile as a refugee, Valanga weaves humour and wit through the many entertaining stories which also reflect the power of resilience. Students of all ages are able to relate to Valanga’s stories and feel comfortable to openly discuss their own experiences in a relaxed and non- confrontational manner. Valanga is a consummate musician and songwriter, and has toured extensively.
Joe Motley – musician and teacher
Joe Motley is a professional musician and qualified teacher that has worked primarily with trauma affected young people all over the world. His program aims to engage young people in a way that rarely happens in a typical educational setting. Using popular music as a vehicle to weave through lessons of literacy, numeracy and comprehension, Joe Motley seamlessly integrates learning and fun. Whilst working with Joe, Young people learn how to count beats to bars, song structure (verses and choruses) and record & perform their own original song which, at the end of the project is then provided on CD or the students’ iPod/phone.
Adam Douglass is a practicing visual artist originally trained in New Zealand, Adam has also been working in the social sector as an art facilitator and mental health key worker for the past six years. Adam has directed and facilitated art programs with mental health clients from diverse cultural and social backgrounds, youth with drug and alcohol dependencies and newly arrived refugees. Adam has had critical acclaim with his project systems and designs – with numerous articles published and presentations delivered.
Cat Sweeney – dance artist and project co-ordinator
Co-Founder of Jungle City MASSIVE – a multicultural youth music performance collective – Cat Sweeney is a dancer, youth worker, and event and project manager with a strong passion for promoting cultural diversity, social inclusion, and countering racism and social inequalities faced by the young people. Cat delivers dance classes and workshops in Dancehall and Street dance around Melbourne with the Jungle City dancers, and her own crew Burn-City Queens – Melbourne’s first Dancehall crew. Her work as a teacher, choreographer, and performer has seen her involvement in the Melbourne International Arts Festival 2010, appearances on channel 10, and has given her the opportunity to work for leading youth arts organisations such as ARAB, Multicultural Arts Victoria, Western Edge Youth Arts, and Footscray Art Centre.
Demi Sorono aka Demilition Bgirl – choreographer /dance artist
Hailing proudly from the Philippines, Demi Sorono is a leader in street dance in Australia. Demi achieved national fame as one of Australia’s 4 top dancers (So You Think You Can Dance 2008) with no formal dance training to speak of. She has performed around Australia in every setting from rural Aboriginal communities to corporate city events. She has facilitated numerous inspiring and engaging workshops utilising her key skills in break dance and hip hop choreography. Demi is fluent in Auslan and has been exploring the combination of hip hop and sign language in a number of projects including her work with young people in MASSIVE Australia’s 1st hip hop choir. Demi believes in supporting all young people to have access to dance as a form of creative expression and empowerment.
Dom Sigillo aka Jorzz – visual artist
Dom Sigillo is a visual artist specialising in graffiti art. His breadth of skill across photography, visual merchandising, illustration, workshops, stage design and construction has given him fertile ground to develop his art form for exhibition and publication. He is driven to share his knowledge through a belief in art as a powerful form of expression for all.
Nicola Dracoulis – photographer and project faciliatator
Nicola Dracoulis graduated MA in Photojournalism, London College of Communication 2007. She has since freelanced in London and Australia as a social documentary photographer. Alongside her freelance photography work, she works with social organisations producing, documenting and facilitating projects. She is also known to be working on several on self-initiated projects at once inspired by music, dance and/or youth cultures. Such as her long term project Living in the Middle of the Noise in Rio de Janeiro. Parts of her archive are represented by PYMCA – Photographic Youth Music Culture Archive.
cohealth arts generator is proud to be part of Arts West, a unique alliance of arts organisation’s who reflect the exciting, vibrant and diverse arts and culture thriving in Melbourne’s inner west.