Exhibition brings racism awareness to the front

Reclaiming Narratives: Melbourne artists respond to I Am Not A Virus exhibition.

Tara Murray

An exhibition showcasing artists who have used their creative practice to confront racial prejudice and reclaim the narrative on their sense of identity and belonging in Australia is on display at the St Albans Community Centre.

Diversity Arts Australia has commissioned 68 Asian artists across Australia to create new works-in-development in response to COVID-19 racism for the #IAmNotAVirus project.

In collaboration with Creative Brimbank, the exhibition, titled Reclaiming Narratives: Melbourne artists respond to I Am Not A Virus, opened earlier this month and will run to January 22.

The project responds to the increase in racist attacks since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, Diversity Arts developed I Am Not A Virus, an artist-led project to confront xenophobia, bust stereotypes and provide a counter-narrative to issues of long-standing racism in Australia that are revealing themselves in the face of COVID-19.

Diversity Arts Australia executive director Lena Nahlous said anti-Chinese and Asian racism in Australia is not new.

“But the advent of the global pandemic has seen an intensification of physical and verbal attacks.

“This has directly impacted on artists who we represent, as reported to us initially in our creatives of colour impacts of COVID survey.

“This important project creates a platform for artists to respond to this through creativity.

Project producer Kevin Bathman said he was really excited by the possibilities of this project to open new conversations and ways of approaching this issue.

Details: www.IamNotAVirusAustralia.org