Exhibition of thrills

A piece sewn from recycled clothing by Hisham.

By Danielle Kutchel

Melbourne’s underground scene has a new voice in The Thrill Collective, a multicultural trio of creativity and passion.

The Thrill Collective comprises three individuals with unique strengths: Narre Warren-based Hisham, who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia and migrated to Australia in 2011; Malaysian-born Jian, a visual artist who migrated to Australia in 2010; and Randy, a musician who was born in Liberia and migrated to Australia in 2005 under the Australian immigration program.

The group produces music, art and creative content focusing mainly on lifestyle and youth culture.

From July 30 to August 4, they will be hosting their first art exhibition at the No Vacancy Gallery, showcasing Jian’s pieces.

The group is running a Pozible campaign to raise funds for the exhibition and for youth mental health organisation Headspace.

Hisham says The Thrill Collective came together to find a way pursue their dreams and express themselves. Often, he explains, artists from multicultural backgrounds are put in a box.

“It’s about getting people to understand that not every artist that comes from a multicultural background has to be boxed into that; it’s recognising them as artists for what the art is.

“We personally had an issue where Jian went to apply for an art grant and got turned down because his work wasn’t reflecting his cultural heritage – but not every Malay-Chinese has to make their art about that. That’s why we ended up doing this ourselves.”

Their creative works sometimes reflect current issues – for example, the group is currently exploring mental health within different cultures, an issue they say isn’t often seen in mainstream media.

But the pieces are designed to appeal to a wide audience rather than just those from a multicultural background.

“We don’t push the message that we’re multicultural – we are, but it’s not in your face,” Hisham says.

Meanwhile, the group hopes to use their momentum from this exhibition to keep moving forward.

“If someone turns you down it’s not the be-all and end-all. When everything is there – talent, etc. – the option is to do it yourself. We’re trying to show people there are multiple ways of getting there,” Hisham says.

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