Blacktown City Creative Arts Fund grants

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The mental health journey of women in the Afghan community and a picture book celebrating the diversity of language are among the projects to be created with the help of $52,000 in grants from the Blacktown City Council 2020 Creative Arts Fund.

$3,000 grants have been awarded to six community organisations with 17 individuals and groups benefitting from grants of $2,000.

Blacktown City Councillor Kathie Collins OAM, presented cheques and congratulated the recipients during a recent get-together at the Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre.

“The grants provide Council with the opportunity to support and develop our communities’ creative artists. The range of projects is also a reflection of our City’s many diverse and inclusive communities.” Councillor Collins said.

Blacktown City’s 2019 Woman of the Year, Maryam Zahid, was presented with a $2000 grant for a project that explores the mental and emotional health of women and young girls from the Afghan community.

Ms Zahid will gather stories from 20 women on how they coped during this year of sudden change. The stories will be sent to artist Jahangir Amin, who is from Afghanistan, to interpret the stories in a painting.

Ms Zahid said many of the women are suffering from isolation, not only due to COVID-19, but also as a result of domestic violence, cultural issues, financial and language difficulties.

She said living through COVID-19 could be compared to living in Afghanistan under the constant threat of danger.

The power of language will be the focus of a picture book to be designed and published by Colebee resident and the recipient of a $2,000 grant, Joy Adan.

The project, which may also include an exhibition and workshop, will feature brush-lettered words from different cultural backgrounds which are not easily translated into English.

“I want people to share a word from their language and the story of an experience related to it.”

Another grant recipient, Casey Sessions, is also among 8 artists who have been chosen for a residency with Blacktown Arts in 2020.

Ms Sessions, from Acacia Gardens, will create four portraits of the Australian bush, capturing themes of regeneration and growth.

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