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Artists find hope in margins

THE THIRD annual Art from the Margins (AFTM) exhibition, a creative initiative of Wesley Mission Brisbane (WMB), continues to be popular with 380 entries from more than 160 talented artists this year.

Part of the Brisbane Festival, AFTM assists artists whose artistic development is limited by homelessness, disability, disadvantage or isolation.

The exhibition was spread across three different venues; Wesley House, Brisbane Institute of Art and the Inala Community
Art Gallery and Cultural Centre.

AFTM convenor Ian Airey said participation has more than tripled in the last three years and the outcomes have been exciting for all involved.

“Every artist gets a lift of their self-esteem,” he said. “For some artists there have also been spinoff workshops and mentoring programs and some have also gone on to do more study.

“It is an exciting and rewarding program for everyone involved.”

The idea for AFTM was born beside a coffee van for the homeless when a member of the Albert Street Uniting Church’s
Servant Network chatted with an artist who was living in isolation.

AFTM also aims to provide mentoring programs and links into the professional art world.

WMB has established an AFTM Collection which, when large enough, will tour regional galleries throughout the country
to help raise artists’ profiles.

In 2010 the Bruce Heiser Gallery awarded its inaugural Professional Development Awards for three AFTM artists,
Htoo Htoo Han, Billy Thompson and Francis Hefferan.