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Youth Week 2021

District hosts exhibition to showcase young emerging artists.

Three teenagers standing in front of a building
SydneyConnect Image: Young artists outside Youthblock

Three young emerging Sydney artists’ works are being showcased in a special exhibition at Sydney Local Health District that puts a spotlight on the importance of young people’s health and wellbeing.

The artists were commissioned by Youthblock, the District’s Youth Health Service, in partnership with the City of Sydney, to create artworks to display during Youth Week 2021.

Youth Week is an opportunity for young people to share ideas, have their voices heard on issues of concern, express their talents and celebrate their contribution to the community.

This year’s theme is Together More Than Ever.

Youthblock selected school students Emily Harris, 15, and Telaan Dias, 16, plus River Charette, 19, who’s studying at the Academy of Information Technology, to produce artworks to reflect the theme.

All the artists’ works were influenced by the outbreak of COVID-19 and the impact the pandemic has had on their lives and on those around them.

“The first idea that came to mind was how the pandemic has taken its toll on everyone and their relationships with others. My artwork shows, that despite physical distance, we’ll always find a way back to one another,” Emily said.

River said, “In the past year, we became responsible for our collective wellbeing, and we’ve risen to meet that challenge. My work conveys the message that when faced with adversity, humans can come together and embody, conjure and manifest powerful, healing change.”

Telaan said, “2020 was a rollercoaster ride for me and my LGBTIQ+ community. I was lonely when COVID-19 restrictions were imposed in Sydney. But, now my friends and I are able to get together again. My work explores my experiences of relationships and connections.”

The artworks will be hung in the windows at Youthblock which is located in busy Abercrombie Street in Redfern for the next month.

Youthblock is a free, multidisciplinary service for marginalised and at-risk young people aged 12 to 25 and who are living, working or studying in the District.

Its team is made up of nurses, counsellors, health promotion staff and a medical officer who provide a holistic approach to young people’s physical and psychosocial health and wellbeing.

“Over the past 12-months, we’ve had an influx of young people who’ve been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 – with many losing their jobs and becoming socially isolated,” Rosie Taranto, Youthblock’s Health Promotion Officer, said.

“The exhibition is one way we’re able to re-engage with young people. This year’s theme, Together More Than Ever, is very apt. We’ve all had to work together to look after our health and wellbeing during the pandemic,” she said.

The City of Sydney contributed $1500 to fund the project under its Youth Week 2021 program.