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Confined 15

Melbourne Water sponsors The Torch this National Reconciliation Week

As part of National Reconciliation Week 2024 (27 May - 3 June), Melbourne Water is proud to sponsor two acquisition art awards in the 15th annual Confined exhibition, presented by The Torch.  

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The theme for National Reconciliation Week 2024, Now More Than Ever, serves as a reminder that no matter what, the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will – and must – continue. 

The Torch is a program that provides art, cultural and arts industry support to First Nations peoples currently in, or recently released, from Victorian prisons. Aiming to reduce the rate of reoffending by encouraging the exploration of identity and culture through art and providing new pathways. 

Displaying a collection of over 400 artworks by more than 380 artists, the Confined exhibition serves as a reflection on the disproportionate representation of First Nations Australians in the criminal justice system, highlighting the need for change. 

“Through all that we do, Melbourne Water recognise that the Traditional Owners of the region have connections to land and water that are inseparable to their lives. That’s why, now more than ever, we must walk Country together. We are proud to support organisations like The Torch, in their work to foster connections, artistic expression and future pathways,” said Melbourne Water Managing Director, Dr Nerina Di Lorenzo. 

First Nations Australians make up around 2% of the Australian population yet represent 28% of the national prison population. 

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“Supporting organisations like The Torch allows them to provide continued support to First Nations peoples who have experienced incarceration in Victoria, by embracing program participants as artists rather than offenders. The Torch provides an avenue for change,” added Melbourne Water Principal Advisor Aboriginal Engagement, Roy McPherson. 

Melbourne Water has acquired two artworks as part of the Yaluk Biik Baan Acquisition Award and Connection to Country Acquisition Award that were painted by

Ash Thomas and Melissa Bell. 

Yalluk Biik Baan means river, land and water in the Woi Wurrung language. As a waterway manager, Melbourne Water nurtures a connection to river, land and water sharing a passion for the management, recovery and growth with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who have been caring for Country for thousands of years before us. 

The artworks will be put on permanent display in August in prominent Melbourne Water locations. 

Explore Confined 15 at the Glen Eira City Council Gallery, Monday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 1 pm to 5 pm, May 3 to June 2, and online at thetorch.org.au. 

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