Ahead of the Curve


The Ahead of the Curve Commissions is for young and emerging artists of colour living around Melbourne, to create new digital artworks that respond to social challenges, including COVID-19.

These commissions will empower young storytellers, makers and creators within our diverse communities to create works that:

  • show their strength and resilience in the face of adversity
  • explore health and wellbeing and
  • draw from their lived experiences.

MAV will offer a range of Ahead of the Curve commission tiers to suit community aspirations and individual capacity. As well as financial support, MAV can offer the following support to participating artists and communities:

  • professional and creative development workshops
  • networking and mentoring
  • production and administrative assistance.

The new digital works created in Ahead of the Curve will be presented online as part of MAV’s Diasporas platform. The Ahead of the Curve commissions will highlight the way the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded inequity and disadvantage for communities of colour in Victoria.

Supported by The Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, the Ahead of the Curve commissions will challenge prevailing narratives of CALD communities as vulnerable and helpless and explore how diversity and community can also be protective factors; enabling communities to address the social determinants of health inequity and disadvantage.


Please note, all workshops are online via Zoom.
All workshops are FREE. Registrations required.

In this three-part Podcasting Workshop, you will learn everything it takes to produce an impactful podcast.

Sunday 13, 20 and 27  February, 11am – 12pm


Neda Rahmani teaches you how to recognise imposter syndrome and simple tools to break the self-sabotage mindset.

Monday 21 Feb, 6pm – 7pm


In this workshop, Daniel Jauregui, musician, producer and composer, will be opening the windows into music production.

22 + 24  February and 1 March, 6pm – 7.30pm


Led by facilitator, Daniel Schultheis, Smartphone Stories teaches participants how to make films using a smartphone.

Wednesday 23 February, 6pm – 9pm


These workshops centre around digital technology, and how to approach them as both tools and as part of the art making process

28  February and 7 + 11 March, 6pm – 8pm


The workshop for discovering your ‘unfair advantage’ for breaking-in to professional screenwriting.

Wednesday 2 March, 6pm – 9pm


Learn about the fundamentals of camera use and lighting in filmmaking using SLR and pocket cinema cameras.

Thursday 3 March, 6pm – 9pm


Facilitator Jonathan Homsey will take you through simple tips for writing about your practice.

Saturday, 5 March, 11am-1pm


Run by Neda Rahmani (Founder/CEO Goodworthy), in this workshop you will learn how to create authentic marketing using web-based media platforms.

Monday 7 March, 12pm – 1pm


In this workshop, Neda Rahmani, will teach you how excelling at arts management and business will benefit your creative practice.

Tuesday 8 March, 11am – 1pm


This workshop aims to give you some simple practical design tips on and concepts to bring your ideas to life on Canva.

Tuesday 8 March, 6pm – 8pm


Learn the basics of sound in the art of filmmaking, including recording and sound design.

Wednesday 9 March, 6pm – 9pm


Learn the fundamentals of film editing using free software Davinci Resolve Lite

Thursday 10 March, 6pm – 9pm



We are so excited to announce the 26 recipients of the Ahead of the Curve commissions who are ready to challenge prevailing narratives of diverse communities!


Clautrosfobia by Ana Maria Gomides

Clautrosfobia is an experimental short film based on an excerpt from an essay I wrote—and will probably never stop writing—a few years ago, titled, ‘What luck, what a fucking curse: on looking and being looking at in my light skin’. Taking place in front of a full-length mirror, the video will depict myself getting ready for the day. What should be an ordinary act is a confrontational one for me: a reminder of the violence the women in my family had to endure at the hands of Portuguese colonisers in order for my skin to reach its lightness.”

Ana Maria Gomides is an Afro-Latina storyteller based in Naarm. She writes reflectively on her experiences of race, migration, queerness, mental and chronic illness, neurodiversity, and the various ways in which they intersect. Her work has been featured on Djed Press, Arts Access Victoria, The Australian Multilingual Writing Project, Cordite and Kill Your Darlings, among others.

“There’s this sentiment in the arts community that there are currently “enough”, or even “too many” platforms that focus of elevating BIPoC voices, which I can assure you is definitely not the case. Programs like Ahead of the Curve are beyond necessary for a bunch of reasons, such as relieving the pressure of having to be an educator and/or the spokesperson for all non-white folks. There aren’t that many spaces available for BIPoC to work on stuff that’s by and for us, and I’m stoked to be able to do so with this project.”

Instagram: @frank_emoceans
Twitter: @anamariagomides

Image credit: Ana Maria Gomides. Photo courtesy the artist.

New Empower Work by Taga Barrio

“I am expanding my body of works from “Pearl of the Orient Seas” (Poetry), “Don’t Forget” (Spoken Poetry Performance from Takeback MAV), and “Las Tres Marias” (Photo series inspired from Takeback MAV) by creating a sculptural resin piece of myself to create physical form of these works and going through the process of accepting one’s self by seeing an actual representation of my body. This piece aims to represent my intersectional identity as a queer immigrant southeast asian woman.”

Taga Barrio is a multi-disciplinary creative who explores the themes of identity and belonging through exploring subjects of sex, sexuality, post-colonialism, language and culture by drawing inspiration from my lived experiences as a brown, southeast asian queer immigrant.

“With the help of MAV, I am able to create an extension of myself in another physical form which will represent different parts of my identity and the Filipinos colonized history, my native tongue will represent our tribes and indigenous people, the national language of Philippines will represent the changes done due to colonization, and lastly English will represent this present moment. I want to be able to show growth, history, intersectionality, intimacy, journey, resilience, to allow the audience to relate or find connection/ interaction with my work.”

Instagram: @taga.barrio
Soundcloud: usapangx

Image credit: INDAY, from “Las Tres Marias” Photo Series

Ammumma’s House by Isha Menon

Anamika has cast off from her culture to get a seat at the table, but Micky’s life comes to a grinding halt with the advent of the global pandemic. In the stillness of lockdown, dreams that haunted Anamika’s childhood leak into her waking world, dreams of her grandmother’s ancestral home in the land of the banyan tree. An ancient force within Ammumma’s house beckons to her, and in this time of global disaster, Anamika finds herself heeding it’s call…

Isha is a theatremaker and recent graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). Their original works range from an experimental choose-your-own-adventure performance piece to an interactive website that invites Melbournians to submit stories about their isolation experiences. They enjoy making theatre that is absurd, irreverent and heartfelt.

“Even as a young person, I find myself battling narratives around CALD communities that paint them as apathetic and weak, that see my cultural heritage as a hindrance to my ability to be a ‘real part’ of Australian society.This is why I am thrilled to be part of Ahead of the Curve. It’s an opportunity to tell a story about CALD community that shows diversity and culture to be a powerful source of strength. ”

Instagram: @isha.amberosa.menon

Image credit: Isha Menon. Photo by Lachlan Woods.

Sunshower by Jonathan Homsey

Sunshower blurs the line between a vintage aerobics instructional and a motivational talk. Inspired and fueled by research in dance imagery, Sunshower is a dance tutorial that is visually captivating that can be just watched or a viewer can follow along. This dance evolves Homsey’s previous work with MAV’s Shelter program to an instructional video to remind people of the pleasure of moving one’s body on their terms.

Jonathan Homsey is an arts maker and manager interested in the intersection of street dance, visual art, and social engagement. He has a passion for community outreach using the moving body as a source of empowerment. Born in Hong Kong and raised in the United States of America, he immigrated to Australia in 2010 where his award-winning choreographic practice has evolved from a theatrical context to interdisciplinary installations across Australasia and Japan.

He is also passionate as a curator who has worked with institutions from Melbourne Museum to Footscray Community Arts Centre. Working with mediums from ceramics to augmented reality, Jonathan’s choreographic practice uses street and queer dance movement to inform his works that explore utopian worlds and emotional connection. Currently, in these uncertain times, Jonathan is passionate about providing intimacy through technology and to remind viewers that they have autonomy over their body and their choices.

“To be ahead of the curve, us people People of Colour need to ground in ourselves into the Earth and in turn, our identity. I am grateful to contribute in people’s journey as they search for what feels good for them, in their body , on their terms.”


Facebook: Jonathan Homsey
Instagram: @Johnnybgood.e
Twitter: @jonathanhomsey

Image credit: Jonathan Homsey. Photo by Shannon May Powell.

New Empower Work by Judy Kuo

During a period of deep uncertainty and vulnerability, communities of colour have cared for and shown solidarity to one another through mutual aid. This project aims to uplift the people of colour behind grassroots mutual aid efforts supporting community. A bold illustration of the words and images of these organisers aims to celebrate their relentless practice of care and hope.

Judy Kuo is an Asian-Australian unionist, activist, and artist making digital art, zines, and posters. She currently works at Victorian Trades Hall Council and is passionate about building anti-racist working-class solidarity. She has previously created works for Diversity Arts Australia, Community Legal Centres NSW, and Demos Journal.

“Our communities are resilient, generous, and hopeful. For me, the grassroots mutual aid efforts I’ve seen through the pandemic best exemplify this. I’m grateful to be part of a project that makes space to celebrate and draw strength from our proud cultural and social communities.”

Instagram: @judyk__
Twitter: @judykuo_
TikTok: @judyk__

Image credit: Judy Kuo. Photo courtesy the artist.

New Empower Work by Julianne Nguyen

“Lockdown has given us an opportunity to re-boot, re-set, and re-generate. The concept of self re-flection wasn’t new to our ancestors (even our indigenous Australians have worked with the cycle of the seasons and moon). This is my take as a modern-day millennial mystic using self dialogue, self practice and self awareness to make sense and make myself sane in this ever-changing world.”

Julianne Nguyen is a second generation Vietnamese-Australian creative. She began in the film world and produced her own short film in 2018. Navigating through this COVID landscape, she is building an experimental mixed-media portfolio, weaving through photographic imagery, sounds, music and voice to create immersive raw-style pieces.

“I am honoured to contribute my Vietnamese and spiritual heritage influenced by my migrant parents to AOTC. I am honoured that I will be expressing raw emotions and the adversity that many millennials and young adults are sojourning in this period of history, as well as offer a space for you all to heal, be real and feel.”

Instagram: @jujus_art_journals
Twitter: @jujuyourguru
YouTube: Journey with JUJU

Call me Juju Nguyen. Photo courtesy the artist.

Entanglements Between Bodies & Borders Volume II by Lauren Mavromati Bourke

‘Entanglements Between Bodies & Borders Volume II’ is a multi-disciplinary digital work that centres on representing a collection of knitted garments. These pieces draw on generationally passed down textile practices to explore how queer and gendered bodies, marginalised by political agendas and histories of invasion and migration, can pursue collective healing through self-expression and spaces centred on queer and gender diverse gazes. The photoshoot, zine and video work will show how these knitted garments invite wearers to interact with each piece, to stretch them to meet their own evolving needs and bodies, and to experience the therapeutic benefits of textile-based handicrafts.

Lauren Mavromati Bourke is a Cypriot-Australian knitwear and fashion designer whose work portrays lived bodily experiences through the lens of their own personal and cultural experiences.

“My practice has long explored themes of intergenerational trauma and has now reached a point where my work seeks to respond to these embodied experiences by creating playful pieces designed with and for queer communities of colour. In aiming to create spaces for collective healing away from confining heteropatriarchal and binary colonial gazes, I hope to represent the powerful ways in which marginalised communities can pursue joy and comfort through sensory stimulation and therapeutic cultural practices. Being a part of Ahead of the Curve is incredibly exciting, as my work centres on community and so I am honoured to be contributing to a community of practice and working with amazing artists of colour from across the diasporas.”

Instagram: @lauren.mavromati

Image credit: Lauren Mavromati Bourke. Photo by Mikaelewa Amberber.

We are the lifeless by Madhubani Dutta

We, the humans are constantly trapped in conflicting emotions emerging from stress, depression and loss. And I am trying to revive the language and role of lifeless objects in rekindling the conscious and subconscious resilience. My work targets audiences from various communities who have suffered, struggled, and survived and my art will emanate the sense of hope and self-healing for them.

Madhubani is an emerging digital photography and visual arts creative based in Wyndham. She has been engaged with Wyndham City Arts & Culture, Saltwater Art Studio and Iramoo Community Centre to lead arts programs and workshops for various age groups as well as for participants with special needs.

“Everything and everyone have a language – the moment you feel it, your world will become a better place. It was my dream to create a visual story that will help the greater community during their moments of distress and Ahead of the Curve provided me with an invaluable platform to bring my concept alive.”

Facebook: Myochre Artroom
Instagram: @myochreartroom

Image credit: Madhubani Dutta. Photo by Colourmash Photography.

New Empower Work by Quynh Nguyen

A series of digital illustrations showcasing young PoC’s mental dissociation due to the pandemic. This project is to showcase the fusion of our current life and the hereafter beyond COVID.

Quynh is a digital designer who is passionate about cultures, gender equality and women empowerment.
“I see my cultural background {Southeast Asian} as a privilege to explore different perspectives of life and design.”

“Through Ahead of the Curve and this project, I hope to connect the audience and provide a sense of inclusion and acknowledgement to these hardships during the pandemic.”


Instagram: @quynnn.work

Image credit: Quynh Nguyen. Photo courtesy the artist.

You Speak Good English! by Sarah Tan

When can immigrants be seen as equals? ‘You Speak Good English!’ is an Augmented Reality (AR) artwork which explores the struggles, challenges and resilience of immigrants who strive for a brighter future by leaving everything they know behind and finding their way to first-world countries. Using AR as the art medium to reflect the pain and challenges immigrants put themselves through for a brighter future allows viewers to empathise more with their personal stories, and just get that little bit closer to understanding everything immigrants sacrifice, physically and emotionally, in order to seek better lives elsewhere for themselves and their loved ones.

Sarah Tan is a Malaysian-born Product Designer and Artist based in Melbourne. She explores the intersection between art and technology to create meaningful experiences using AR/VR. Her past clients include Google, Facebook, Adobe, Amazon and more. Her projects have been presented in the news, international conferences, and art galleries.

“Being an immigrant and woman of colour residing in Victoria, our voices are often not heard and we’re not seen as equals or on par with other people in society. Therefore, I am excited to be part of ‘Ahead of the Curve’ and will use this opportunity to highlight the struggles immigrants face, by using immersive technology, as well as making our struggles real and seen in the eyes of an empathetic public.”

Instagram: @sarahtannn
Twitter: @sarahtannn
LinkedIn: Sarah Tan

Sarah Tan. Photo courtesy the artist.


Atas by Amicus Atman

Sometimes you don’t know what to do, life gives a direction to you. Atas is made as a reminder that perseverance and a little bit of love will get us there. Inspired by stories of past, mythology and folklore, Amicus explores the transformation of tales told through different media in this interactive graphic arts piece.

Amicus Atman is a psychedelic multidisciplinary creator who uses feelings as a guide, colours to describe and other shiny objects they’ve picked up from the ground to tell stories. Sometimes about mythical beasts and sometimes about the systematic oppression of minorities, indigenous and migrants in post-colonial Asia.
But mostly, Love.

“The opportunity to present work alongside this group of amazing artists is incredible and Ahead of the Curve has definitely provided a strong platform to grow on. We relish the chance to create, explore and learn with the audience. ”


Facebook: Amicus Atman
Instagram: @Amicus_Atman
Twitter: @Amicus_Atman
Rarible: Amicus Atman

Image credit: Amicus Atman. Photo courtesy the artist.

Some Possum by Angelita Biscotti

Some Possum (à la Plato’s Symposium) is a playful engagement with canonical philosophy texts, using experimental visual art and sound design. Some Possum’s first publication is an artist’s book of new portraits about how affection links souls in life-saving ways, beyond the borders of 5kms, fear and isolation. An electronic sound design piece brings the visual work in conversation with ancient ideas. I want to ask love, “Where are you from? How did you end up here?”

Angelita Biscotti (she/they) is a Spanish-Filipinx digital creator, performer, writer, and astrologer. She was a 2017 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow, and her poetry collection Else But A Madness Most Discreet came out in 2018. Recent work: MAV’s TakeBack! and a YouTube video about Nietzsche, Antigone, and shibari.

“I was ordering my usual weak soy iced coffee at Little Monk when I got the e-mail congratulating me on the success of my Ahead of the Curve application. I jumped up and down and screamed my head off – good thing the person in line behind me was a local actor who understood my excitement when I told her. What means the most to me is the opportunity to experiment with bold ways of telling stories and testing new possibilities for solidarity practice, in the safe and supportive spaces MAV offers all who are part of this program. ”


Facebook: Angelita Biscotti
Instagram: @angelita.biscotti
Twitter: @angelitabiscott
YouTube: Angelita Biscotti

Image credit: Angelita Biscotti. Photo by D (Instagram: @sanashoots) .

Over Seas by Anne Hsuyin

This project explores how COVID-19 has displaced individuals of colour from their homelands and loved ones. Through loop-based sound art by Anne Hsuyin (Chinese Malaysian) and animation by Caroline Jiang (Chinese New Zealander), we highlight the monotony and numbness that lockdown and closed borders have plunged people into. The social isolation experienced is further amplified by cultural backgrounds which are centered around family and community.

Anne Hsuyin is a composer and sound artist currently based in Melbourne. Born and raised in culturally diverse Malaysia, she is fascinated by the various shades of sound that exist in different communities and is exploring the intersections between tradition, modernity, identity and the diaspora.

“I am so excited to be part of Ahead of the Curve! As an international student who has not returned home in more than two years due to the global pandemic, I often wonder if continuing to stay in Australia is the right decision – if I will be sacrificing important moments, perhaps even my last moments, with my loved ones. What has helped me persevere through these challenging times is finding and forming bonds with other people in similar situations, and I hope to pay it forward and provide a solace to others through my work.”

Instagram: @2yu_ig
Twitter: @2yu_twt
Bandcamp: shiei
YouTube: shiei
Soundcloud: shiei

Image credit: Anne Hsuyin. Photo courtesy the artist.

Conquering the Demons by Beven Elankumaran

“Conquering the Demons” is the creative development of a programmatic work that is designed to musically exhibit an artists’ mental struggles in life, especially in the context of this pandemic. If the emotions of depression and anxiety were recorded and programmed as sounds, what will it sound like?

Beven Elankumaran is an Australian composer, music producer and multi-instrumentalist with a Sri Lankan Tamil heritage. A graduate from the Berklee College of Music (2019), Beven dual majored in Film Scoring and Electronic Production and Design. He currently serves as the “Music Advisor” for Apple’s upcoming TV show “Shantaram.”

“I consider “Ahead of the Curve” to be a platform and a sign of hope for young and emerging artists, especially of the South Asian diaspora based in Melbourne. These commissions enable marginalized voices an opportunity to showcase their talents and stories.  ”


Facebook: Beven Elankumaran
Instagram: @beven.elankumaran

Image credit: Beven Elankumaran. Photo courtesy the artist.

New Develop Work by Karen Bravo

Design of a picture e-book that would contain illustrated portraits of 20 women of colour from diverse backgrounds living in Melbourne, also the book would have the stories and experiences of these women during the lockdown.

“I am a multidisciplinary artist from Colombia. My work is feminine and self-explorative. I use mixed media techniques to represent women of colour, highlighting their connection with nature and spirituality and representing their beauty, strength, and vulnerability. Part of my creative process and outcome have been shaped by the constant necessity to reconnect with my roots.”

“It is important for me to learn about the experiences and stories of different women during these difficult times, and how they have been coping and keeping focus and creative. I want to represent the voices of those women and their life lessons about perseverance, strength, and courage. ”


Instagram: @bravokarena

Image credit: Karen Bravo. Photo courtesy the artist.

HOME by Lerato Masiyane + Chuby Dice

At a time where being at HOME can be overwhelming, two friends go on a journey to find what HOME means to them during Lockdowns. These two friends use Afro Dance and Dancehall movement to share a story of how they found resilience, strength and community through their cultures. This is a story of hope and finding a deeper meaning of HOME in our everyday lives.

Lerato is one of the top dance performers and instructors in Melbourne specializing in Afro Dance and Dancehall. Lerato has performed with some of Australia’s highest profile musicians including Sampa the Great and Baker Boy. She shares her culture by teaching Afro Dance to diverse communities around Victoria.

“I am so grateful to be able showcase Afro Dance and Dancehall in a different but impactful light. I am thankful to MAV for providing opportunities like these and having us as part of Ahead of the Curve.”

Instagram: @its_le.e
YouTube: VizuaLee

Image credit: Chuby Dice + Lerato Masiyane. Photo by Lerato Masiyane.

Artificial Impression by Michelle Nguyen + Grace Quiason

“Our experimental audio-visual work focuses on vivid imagery and subconscious meaning, explored through reworking and merging analogue and digital media. At the centre of our collaboration are themes of diaspora identity, community and intergenerational memory explored through nostalgia, glitch, and abstraction. Our style conveys a shifting mood and overall encapsulation of memory and culture, with its complex but universally relatable ambiguity.”

Michelle is an emerging sound artist exploring glitch, noise, dance, and psychedelia in sound. Grace is an emerging video artist focused on experimental filmmaking through manipulating analogue processes with glitch and remix. Since 2020, both Naarm-based artists have collaborated on experimental audio-visual pieces for Signal and MAV.

“Through our art we are looking at intergenerational memory and glitch in the context of marginalised people creating culture and community in resistance to the structures of white supremacy and binarism. Glitch is our point of interest for this work as it ruptures and disobeys commands to hold space for authenticity created from multiplicity, possibility, and narratives of resilience in diaspora communities. It is very special to be a part of this project and explore, contribute to, and celebrate diaspora culture within an artist community.”


Facebook: noom
Instagram: @michelleleln@___gmf
Soundcloud: ภ๏๏๓ 

Image credit: Grace Quiason, photo by Liam Sydow + Michelle Nguyen, photo by Mikey Hearson.

Breasts Become Her by Miss Cairo

Whilst everyone was growing potted plants and learning a new language in lockdown, Miss Cairo sat on her ass and grew a new set of tits.

Miss Cairo puts her breast foot forward to create her first ever solo show – all about her newly formed boobs… It’s a tale of two titties.

She will be exploring her relationship to her femininity since transitioning from a UK drag superstar, to an Aussie cabaret trans ICON, through video and digital exploration.

Miss Cairo had been treading the boards since the tender age of five. Her career has taken her around the world, and has led her to explore many avenues in creative fields. Miss Cairo mixes burlesque, live vocals, comedy and activism to smash stereotypes, and entertain the masses. A dancer, a singer, an actress, an activist, a writer she aims to galvanise people into changing the world!

“In a time of great uncertainty, arts creation has been difficult to say the least. It is wonderful having the support of MAV for Ahead of the Curve to know that this work can continue after its initial planned debut for Melbourne Fringe. I’m excited to explore this project with the support of the team at MAV!”


Facebook: Pretty Miss Cairo
Instagram: @PrettyMissCairo
Twitter: @PrettyMissCairo

Image credit: Miss Cairo. Photo by Greg Dennis.

salmon cannon me into the abyss by Panda Wong

‘salmon cannon me into the abyss’ is a poetry EP exploring the collective experience of grief, how it’s performed IRL/online and what it means to share pain. It’s an aural accompaniment to my chapbook-in-progress with the same title and a way to experience poetry outside of the printed page. Collaboration and friendship are core to the project, with a different musician producing each poetic track.

Panda is a poet, writer and editor working and living on unceded land in Narrm. She is also a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow 2021 and an Incendium Radical Library resident. Her first chapbook ‘angel wings dumpster fire’ is upcoming in late 2021 with Puncher & Wattmann.

“Being selected for one of Ahead of the Curve’s commissions has given me the chance to realise a project that I have been working on for a long time (but didn’t have the funding for!). It’s also given me the priceless opportunity to work with people that I really love and admire! I’m excited to be able to explore poetry in more sensory, experiential and collaborative ways.”

Liminal Magazine – Panda Wong

Instagram: @washedup_retailsuperstar

Image credit: Panda Wong. Photo by Thy Tran.

The Fae: featurette by Stone Motherless Cold

“The Fae: featurette” is a Blak futurist short animated film, featuring Blak fairies, inspired by poetic excerpts from ‘The Fae’, a fairy drag play performed earlier at Yirramboi 2021. These poems began as my reflections of being a queer Blakfulla away from Country and to resist and examine early colonial writings of First Nations peoples. Sparked by continuing queer Blak rennaissance, this film is an expression of Blak queer excellence, Blak queer joy and Blak queer rest as it investigates different perspectives on utopia vs dystopia.

Stone Motherless Cold is an Arrernte gem, currently based in so called melbourne. Smooth and sensual, bold and graphic, this crystalline trophy posing as humanoid.  Ms Cold is head of the Motherless Collective. 1st Runner Miss First Nations 2021 and title winner of the VIC NAIDOC LGBTQIA+ 2019 event.

“Cartoons and media within the online/digital realm, is a cyberspace that First Nations people continue to reclaim space for themselves. I’m very grateful for Ahead of the Curve and these funds as it means that while working in contexts that I’m familiar with, I have the space now to experiment in other directions and mediums and incorporate my drag performance style with visual mediums in a cartoon form.”

Instagram: @stone_motherlesscold
Twitter: @MsMotherless

Image credit: Stone Motherless Cold. Photo courtesy the artist.

Cancion de despedida by Vanessa Estrada

Production of a video clip for Vanessa’s next single “Cancion de despedida” (Farewell song) which will be the first release of Vanessa’s debut solo LP.

Vanessa Estrada is a Chilean/Afro-Cuban descendant Multi-instrumentalist, Singer, Songwriter and Music Teacher based in Melbourne. Her music is heavily inspired by her South American roots through Andean music, mixing it with elements of folk, rock, and electronic. In 2019, Vanessa  released her first single, “Renacer”  with her her solo project and she is currently producing her debut album which will have its first single release in December 2021.

“Music and believing in my project healed, empowered and kept me going during these difficult times. I am very honoured and grateful for being one of the artists selected to bring my project alive with the support of Ahead of the curve and MAV.”

Facebook: Vanesssa Estrada Music
Instagram: @vanessa.estrada.music
YouTube: Vanesssa Estrada Music
Soundcloud: Vanesssa Estrada Music

Image credit: Vanessa Estrada. Photo by Erin Holland.


Get It Right by Below The Surface

This 3-part collaborative project takes a multidisciplinary approach to exploring inequity, disadvantage, professional development and ownership within the African Australian community. The collective engages songwriting, singing, rapping, visual design and interview-style conversation to bring to life a song, cartoon poster and YouTube conversational series that speaks to the topics of exploration.

Romain Ilunga is a Business and Law graduate with extensive experience across industries. He’s worked for NAB, ANZ and ME Bank as a Personal Banker, Lender and Consultant. He’s completed a certificate in Real Estate and a Diploma in Community Services. Romain is passionate about ownership within the African Australian community.

Alaji Agostino (aka ‘Stino’) is a 24-year-old artist based in Melbourne. His musical skills have been accumulated on a self-taught basis. Alaji has set out to be well-versed in not only rapping, but also singing, producing, mixing and mastering multiple genres (i.e. Hip hop, R&B, Dancehall and AfroBeats).

Lydia Tesema is a Melbourne-born, Ethiopian radio host, presenter, writer, advocate, community developer and multidisciplinary creative. She’s the founder of Below The Surface, a creative company that combines the power of storytelling with creativity and multimedia to explore Australia’s social and political world (mainly from the African Australian/POC perspective).

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to present our work to a larger and more diverse audience. We’re excited to receive the invaluable mentorship and support that is tied to this program. Finally, we believe this commission will fuel our personal and professional development, as well as the growth of our platforms through which we intend on impacting change for our communities.”

Facebook: Below The Surface
Instagram: @below.thesurface | @lydiatesema_ | @officialstinno | @romzeefitness

Image credit: Below The Surface (Alaji, Lydia and Romain). Photo by Raizo Dope’Kid and Vuyo Mbambo.

Shifting Culture by The Bittersweet Podcast

“We will be expanding Shifting Culture, a segment developed as an extension of our podcast Bittersweet. Shifting Culture is a monthly talk series dedicated to celebrating the stories of accomplished and inspirational people of colour living in Australia.”

Rahel Davies and Wintana Kidane are the host of The Bittersweet Podcast, a platform developed with the intention of authentically representing the stories and experiences of people of colour living in Australia.

“We are both so privileged to hold a platform dedicated to sharing the achievements and accomplishments of people of colour in Australia. We are overjoyed to have received this grant and are so excited to be a part of the Ahead of the Curve community!”

Spotify: The Bittersweet Podcast
Facebook: The Bittersweet Podcast
Instagram: @bittersweet.podcast
Twitter: @bittersweet_pod

Image credit: Wintana Kidane + Rahel Davies. Photo courtesy The Bittersweet Podcast.

Eating the Other by Jazba Singh

Inspired by the critical race essay “Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance” by Black intersectional feminist bell hooks, “Eating the Other” is a short film that subverts the othering gaze of Whiteness. Instead of being annexed by the normative structures around her, our Brown protagonist nourishes herself by taking back power in her own hands. This film is a deeply personal reflection of my experiences as a Brown woman, moving through White spaces in Australia.

Jazba Singh is an Indo-Canadian-Australian actor and first-time writer/director. With a background in critical race/gender scholarship, Jazba is a passionate advocate for representation. Credits include Impact Producer for the AACTA winning documentary “In the Shadow of the Hill”; South Indian feature film “Hippi”; and a theatrical run as Princess Sophia Duleep Singh in “The Regina Monologues”.

“Being selected as a part of Ahead of the Curve means a lot to me: in a way, it’s one of the first times I have felt seen and validated as an emerging artist of colour in Australia. I feel supported and like I belong in this community which is really empowering.”


Instagram: @jazba.singh
Vimeo: Jazba Singh 

Image credit: Jazba Singh. Photo by Tanmay Zokande.

SANCTUARY by Liminal

Liminal is an anti-racist literary platform that supports and elevates talented writers and artists in so-called ‘Australia’. Liminal showcases creatives from a wide range of creative disciplines—literature, art, music, journalism, and more. With MAV’s support, Liminal will publish a new digital chapbook, featuring work from 8 artists responding to the theme of ‘SANCTUARY’.

Adalya Nash Hussein (Series Editor) is a writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Meanjin, Overland, The Lifted Brow, Ibis House and Going Down Swinging. She has been an Emerging Writers’ Festival Melbourne Recital Centre Writer in Residence, a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow, and shortlisted for the Scribe Nonfiction Prize. She is the editor of Voiceworks and a co-editor at Liminal.

Leah Jing McIntosh (Series Publisher) is a writer and photographer. Her work has appeared in places like The Saturday Paper, Kill Your Darlings, and Meanjin. She is currently completing her PhD in Cultural Studies at the University of Melbourne.

“MAV’s support via Ahead of the Curve will allow Liminal to publish another entry in our digital chapbook series, that prioritise are high quality in content, presentation and editorial process.”


Facebook: Liminal
Instagram: @liminalmag
Twitter: @liminalmag

Image credit: Liminal—Emerging Writers Festival 2019. Photo by Hashem McAdam.

We Eatin’ Good! by Matisse Laida + Nisha Hunter

We Eatin’ Good! Is a collaborative food and cooking platform/show dedicated to amplifying young Queer, Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. This platform holds space for this community to share and consume a range of cooking practices, culture and knowledge in a safe and celebratory way.

Matisse and Nisha are both QPOC multi-disciplinary creatives who share a love for food and cooking. Their intention was to fill the gap in the market for cooking shows made for and by young diverse creatives with a focus on bringing people together and sharing stories.

“We Eatin’ Good! aims to create a culturally safe and nurturing space for QTBIPOC through the shared experiences of food, culture and cooking. We are grateful that Ahead of the Curve can see the potential of this project and we look forward to creating more creative content with the support of MAV.”

Instagram: @we.eatin.good.bitch | @nishahunter | @your.never.girlfriend | @invisible.thedrum

Image credit: Matisse Laida + Nisha Hunter. Photo by Nisha Hunter.

Seeing the range of optimistic creativity and ideas presented in each artist’s application shows that imagination can really uplift society in the most challenging times, I cannot wait to see what they deliver!
Aaron Stephanus, Ahead of the Curve Advisory Panel Member

To keep updated on all 26 Ahead of the Curve projects, follow MAV’s social media on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

We were overwhelmed with incredible applications for Ahead of the Curve and we are sad that we couldn’t fund them all. We are looking forward to working with all applicants in our workshop program, to be announced soon.


Applicants must address how their proposal will respond to inequity and disadvantage within diverse and marginalised communities by responding to one or more of the following provocations:

Exploring the themes of strength and vulnerability

Sharing narratives of adversity and resilience

Creating sanctuary through shared experience

  • Empower: Solo New Works ($750): 10 available
    For creatives who can produce their work alone and do not need additional materials, equipment, expertise, or technical support.
  • Develop: Collaborative New Works (up to $3000): 10 available
    For development of new works that involve at least 2 creatives and/ or require additional materials, equipment, expertise, or technical support.
  • Respond: Project Response Works (up to $7000): 5 available
    For community groups, cultural enterprises, or artist collectives to develop works involving multiple artists and/ or community members.

Applicants who:

  • self-identify as First Nations, a Person of Colour, or Culturally or Linguistically Diverse;
  • People aged between 15-35;
    Applicants do not need to identify as an artist or creative, however the proposal must have creative outcomes.
  • live in Victoria with a current Victorian address;
  • intend for the project to be developed in Victoria;  and
  • are able to provide links 1-2 examples of recent solo or collaborative work
Interested in applying for the Ahead of the Curve Commissions but want more details?
MAV hosted an information session to help you understand the application and commission process.
Watch the recording here:

Submissions Open 21 July 2021
Submissions Closed 11.59pm 1 September 2021
Ahead of the Curve Information Session 16 August 2021
Ahead of the Curve Commissions Announced 13 Oct 2021
Creative delivery period 13 Oct 2021 → 20 Dec 2021
Workshops and mentoring sessions 15 Oct 2021 → 31 Mar 2022
Diasporas Festival Mid-Late Sep 2022
Acquittal Due 31 Sep 2022

Click here to download a preview of the form.

Feel free to use this budget template or attach your own budget plan.

If you have any enquiries please contact Ahead of the Curve Creative Producer, Jess Ibacache at jess@mav.org.au

Supported by The Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.

Featured artwork: “Amanyi” (translates directly to “power” from Luganda) by Ree, from Submerged 2021.