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Meet the next generation of Sydney artists changing the game

By Ayebatonye Abrakasa

Welcome to the 48th guest blog post of Time Out Sydney's 52 Weeks of #SydCulture 2017 challenge! November’s culture selector is Ayebatonye Abrakasa: DJ, event producer, curator, director – and founder of House of Ayebatonye. Every week in November, Ayebatonye will be telling us what she loved the week before. Think of it as your recommendation, from someone who sees a helluva lot of arts and culture. Over to her.

If you’re yet to attend the annual Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) grad show opening night, then sorry to be the bearer of bad news: you’ve been missing out.

The historic institution has assisted in cultivating the talents of many gifted contemporary artists and, as with the many other years I have attended, this year did not disappoint.

It was so beautiful to see friends, family, teachers and artists alike on the lush green lawns and within the heritage listed buildings marvelling at gorgeous art while celebrating the success of their loved ones.

There were several pieces that I was taken away by – one of the key highlights of the night for me was the installation by the uber-talented Mikaela Stafford. Mikaela is a multi-disciplinary artist and curator who plays with light, projections and sound to create illuminating bodies of work that utilise everyday objects (which I love as I always encourage DIY DIVA REALNESS!).

Mikaela exhibited a piece featuring metal chicken wire pulsing with projections that refracted off the wire to create this hypnotising installation that encouraged your eyes to follow the movement of the light. Her work, among many others, left me shook!

I absolutely love attending grad shows, community art shows and anything else along that vein; it always excites me to see the future of the Australian art scene. Entering a space filled with such promise and energy, I couldn’t help but voraciously take in all the sculptures, installations and the films with my eyes. And as my month with you draws to an end I want to remind all of us of the importance of supporting the arts and supporting each other.

The impact the arts have on communities is transformative, promoting social cohesion, collaboration and self expression, helping shape identities. There are boundless amounts of empirical evidence that support this, but I’m sure that many of us can draw on our own personal experiences as well. Even in the face of adversity (sexism/racism/homophobia/transphobia/lockout laws) we continue to exist and create space for ourselves where we can make and share our art, and I think that is the beauty of community.

The only way to move forward successfully is to continue to show support for one another, that includes buying tickets to shows, speaking positively about one another and understanding that we can all rise together.

While you’re here, check our 52 Weeks of #SydCulture challenge, and let us know what you're seeing/loving on Instagram via the hashtag #SydCulture.

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