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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Calling on all young artistic environmental protectors

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Activist/actor Tony Barry has kicked off a youth environmental art comp, which will be judged on December 17 at the Mullum Civic Hall. Photo Jeff Dawson
Activist/actor Tony Barry has kicked off a youth environmental art comp, which will be judged on December 17 at the Mullum Civic Hall. Photo Jeff Dawson

Local legendary Australian actor and activist Tony Barry is helping to organise an environmental art competition for local high school students.

Known for both leading and character roles in more than 55 feature films, 45 television series and theatre, Mr Barry is calling on high school students to get creative and express their concerns and hopes for the future of their environment.

Mr Barry said, ‘Prizemoney will be $1,000 for first prize, $1,000 for second prize and $1,000 for third prize. It will be distributed to students for personal use, or can be used for an environmental initiative of their choice, which would remain in the school in their name.

The event will be celebrated on December 16 and 17 at the Mullumbimby Civic Memorial Hall with presentations and judging from 10am to 5pm.

Artwork criteria

The chosen artform may include writing, poetry, dance, drama, music, or visual arts such as painting, drawing, photography, film, sculpture, etc or any combination of these artforms. The environmental topic for the students’ piece will be chosen by the students and must be original artwork.

Judges are Robert Bleakley (founder and CEO of Sotheby’s Australia and chairman of Pathways Foundation) and Virginia Reid (local artist and teacher).

Mr Barry says the day will begin with a smoking in ceremony and respect for Country. ‘There will be a silent tribute to all those who have passed over on this land,’ he says.

‘This event is dedicated to Jamby’s son Jacob, who passed away some weeks ago during a misadventure at a party. 

‘Local artist Daniel Hend is on board and we are attempting to obtain a 2×5 metre length of artists’ canvas and encourage any young, or young-at-heart artists, to engage with Daniel to create an environmental mural that may then be auctioned off at the end of the event.

‘All proceeds will go towards funding the next stage, which we hope will be statewide.

‘We will have a soapbox for the general public to express any concerns for their environment or suggested solutions with a maximum of five minutes.’

Mr Barry says he is also on the lookout for anyone who wants to become involved in a local theatre/film/musical troupe of a satirical, political, comedy bent, to be inaugurated under the banner of the Drill Hall Theatre after discussions are concluded. This will be a drug- and alcohol-free zone.

‘We are looking to find young tear-aways who might like to use that energy to engage with the Rural Fire Brigade and other outlets for energetic spirits, to go some way towards satisfying the need for adventure.

‘We will have a gathering of musicians who will come together to compose and perform an environmental song, fresh from their hearts and minds, prior to the prizegiving.’

‘Holley Somerville-Knott, a local girl who is passionate about the world and its environment, is an inspiring patron for this event,’ says Mr Barry.

‘This is an opportunity for youth to influence environmental policy outcomes, and express a voice which can, and will, change the world we live in for generations to come.’

‘There will also be a mandala constructed throughout the day with participation by attendees.

‘I am enjoying the generosity and spirit of the Mullum community.

‘Many creatives, who appreciate the concept of a “social capital,” are bringing their talents and their energy to contribute to what we hope will be heartfelt day for all, and an encouragement for our youth to enjoy.’

For more info visit www.yepu.org or the Young Environmental Protectors Facebook page.

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