the torch: supporting life beyond incarceration

Recent movements, overseas and in Australia, have unveiled the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the Australian criminal justice system. Indigenous Australians are 13 times more likely to be incarcerated than the country’s general population.*

Whilst social movements have brought this issue to our attention, the disproportionate incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a result of an ongoing failure by governments at all levels to address this issue. 

The Torch, Victorian arts and cultural initiative, provides an avenue for change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders and ex-offenders. The organisation achieves this by honoring and nurturing the cultural identity of these individuals by providing art and cultural vocational programs. 

NSW Outback Dreaming

Photo: NSW Outback Dreaming, by Marty

The program plays a crucial role in breaking the cyclical nature of re-offences by developing and defining new pathways for individuals upon release from prison. The Torch keeps its arms open to those who have since left the criminal system by encouraging them to further develop their practice as well as participate in art projects and exhibitions. The organisation also extends beyond developing the cultural and artistic practice of those in the program by providing the ability for participants to sell and license their work, generating a new pathway with economic benefits.

Burning on the River #2
Photo: Burning on the River #2, by Veronica Mungaloon Hudson

Through our archive sale, containing samples and one of a kind prototypes, we are committing 50% of all sale proceeds to support this incredible initiative. Thanks to the support of the simétrie community, we have donated $1040 [updated: 6-7-20] so far. There are still some items left in the archive sale, so we encourage you to shop with purpose if you haven't already done so. 

We want to continue to spread the word of the crucial work that this organisation does in addressing Australia’s systemic criminalisation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


How you can support The Torch:

  • Buy an artwork on their website here. 100% of the sale price goes directly to the artist.
  • Donate here
  • Learn more about the amazing work that The Torch does by watching their documentary The Art of Incarceration. View the trailer here.



References:

Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, 2017, https://vals.org.au/assets/2017/10/VALS_ACJR_Addressing-Over-Incarceration_Oct_2017FINAL.pdf

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