Just Art is an art competition that makes advocacy accessible to all people, of all ages, through creative representation of a contemporary social justice issue.
The initiative grew out of the St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria’s recognition that young and creative voices should be heard on important topics of social justice.
Just Art calls for participants to explore the competition’s theme in context with the Society’s values of compassion, respect, empathy and courage.
Just Art 2017 – First Australians
This year’s theme ‘First Australians’ marks two important historic and cultural references: 25 years since the Mabo court decision and 50 years since the 1967 referendum. These milestones have helped to shape, and continue to shape, modern-day Australia.
As people who form the longest continuous culture in the world, our Indigenous Australians are a source of pride for our nation.
Just Art 2017 was a chance to celebrate the culture and strength of our first Australians, and to call for a genuine valuing of the indigeneity that is central to our Australian identity.
One of the Just Art judges was respected Shepparton-based Indigenous artist and member of the Stolen Generation, Eric Brown, who said the underlying message of the works was ‘hope’.
“We’re all on different levels of our journey, but at the end of the day the point is that we end up in the same place and connect together. We all want to walk together; no-one wants to walk alone. Art is a way to connect with others,” said Mr Brown.
Over 350 artists offered challenging and inspiring artworks that celebrate Indigenous culture and identity. These works invite us to see the strength, courage and endurance of humanity. They reflect on compassion and love. They prompt us to engage in what it means to be Australian by committing to an active reconciliation and valuing of the rich culture and spirituality of the first people of Australia.
Cheyne Pettit is Mission and Social Justice Coordinator – Secondary Schools and Team Leader of the Youth and Education Development Team at the St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria.