There’s a new mural along Wray Crescent, installed last Friday on the St John’s Ambulance shed.
Initiated by artist Kate Baker, the mural is part of a larger project called Seen and Heard – Boy to Man which explores the transition phase between boyhood and manhood. It covers Mt Evelyn and Upper Yarra, and is focused on young men in the Yarra Valley area.
Seen and Heard – Boy to Man is comprised of three components:
– Photographs of young men aged 15-19 across a broad demographic, taken with an old fashioned large format film camera.
“The process of the portrait itself is perhaps the most important part of the project. The portraits are intended to reflect authenticity and to encourage a sense of self acceptance and awareness of their intrinsic value.” says Kate.
– An interview with each young man seeking insights into their views of our society.
“This project is about allowing our young men to be both Seen and Heard. There are many issues globally impacting our youth and there are issues globally that seem not to have diminished in terms of depression, suicide, alienation of youth, radicalisation etc. I wanted to understand how our young men see our society. Do they feel engaged within it? What do they like and dislike about it? What would they change if they could? Given the significant role changes for men that are occurring globally during this time of history what qualities do our young men admire in a man? Quotes on the mural are taken from young men during these sessions.”
– Finally, the mural is about “bringing visibility to our young men, who are often not as visible within society – it is too easy to label them as ‘just teenagers'”.
“I want to bring them into the community awareness in a more personal way, to give them voice and allow them to be seen as the valuable young men they are. The murals are literally embedded in the community, they are not tucked away in a gallery or some other room. They are proudly there to be both seen and heard, which builds self acceptance, social resilience and strength. The landscape behind the images is about showing the young men within their environment, our community.”
Photographs and quotes from interviews make up each mural, and Kate hopes the works will start a conversation in the community, and on their facebook page which will be sharing photographs and insights from the project regularly. You can visit the Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/seenandheardboytoman
With the project based in both suburbs, a second mural has been installed in Yarra Junction which has the same theme but displays different young men and their insights. The mural is designed as an ephemeral art piece and in a month or two Kate will be back to replace the current mural with the next in the series.
Kate is hoping to be able to extend the Seen and Heard – Boy to Man project across the Shire in 2018.
The projects have been funded by RACV, Shire of Yarra Ranges and the Warburton and Yarra Junction branches of the Community Bank, and supported by St John’s Ambulance.