Wednesday, November 25, 2009



Freedom to Create ( is an initiative that seeks to improve lives by addressing society’s ability to support and sustain creativity. The initiative focuses on those societies in greatest need.

Directly from their website:

A celebration of courage and creativity
Established in 2008, the Freedom to Create Prize is a celebration of the courage and creativity of artists around the world who use their talents to build the foundations for open societies and inspire the human spirit. It is open to artists in all creative fields.

Support for frontline artists
Each year, US$125,000 in prize money is awarded across three categories: Main, Youth and Imprisoned Artist.
The winners of this year’s Prize will be announced at our awards ceremony to be held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, on 25 November 2009. Human rights activist Bianca Jagger, leading human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC and acclaimed documentary maker Nick Broomfield will present the awards.

A growing presence
The Prize has been embraced by artists on the frontlines, the global arts in development sector and the human rights community. This year there were more than 1,000 nominations from over 100 countries.

Last year the Art Action Union promoted this prize in it's fundamental year, to a very modest and new group of artists. We even ran our own challenge in parallel with the ideals.

It was with honour and surprise that this year the Art Action Union was identified by this growing prestigious prize and invited to the awards ceremony at the V&A Gallery in London.

Unfortunately, I couldn't go :-( Because I don't live anywhere near London ... and after a frantic mail around couldn't get anyone there either :-( even though we were very lucky to have the invitation extended to our "colleagues in London" ... ho hum! I'll have to meet Bianca Jagger another day!

What is more important about the awards being in a state of "growing prestige", is that not only are they attracting the likes of:

to present the winners, the growing number of entrants on the front line of human need regarding expression have embraced the awards. This year over 1000 entries from over 100 countries has marked The Freedom to Create Prize as a special and magical celebration of voice, but contrasted against the dire need to raise community expectations and standards in educating our richest world communities about the sacrifices made by others in their struggle against oppression.

The stories of the finalists themselves are enough to inspire ... please find the press release for the Awards and read their biographies.

The winners will be announced tonight Wednesday the 25 November 2009 ... alas without the real time cheers and tears of the Art Action Union's physical presence, but we are there in spirit and will be advocating the change that these artists need to see in the world.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Water War and Irrigation Without Borders - Bangladeshi Theatre pouring out their concern

"Water War (water is life not for sale)" is a play written and designed by Art Action Union community member Sorkar Haider. Sorkar is a resident of Bangladesh and expresses his concerns through theatre alongside the Karigar theatre troupe. His latest scripted production draws to the surface the impact of globalisation, international conflict and neighbouring policy on Bangladesh, it's people and the river systems that have been their life and culture.

The fear that Sorkar and his fellow thespians are aiming to express, is the deep nature of greed and control that could cost them not only access to this necessity for life, but invoke violence and inter-dependent corruption that could overcome nations as the resource diminishes.

The play was inspired by the reflection of the actors’ love of the rivers as children in their earlier village life.

From the play brief that Sorkar sent to the Art Action Union (transcribed as is):

We discover some moments at the bend of river and we see rivers have chronological story, birth story, and all people are love them.

Bangladesh is irrigated by rivers. In the ancient and middle ages near about 850 rivers to flowed over the country and they meet with Bay of Bengal. But now this time we are seeing only 249 rivers. Where are the other rivers? Death. There are 90 percent people dependent on rivers in Bangladesh. The people are habituate by agricultural farming, fishing, stone business and other river related works.

All the rivers come from India because all the rivers are born on Himalaya and other hills. Indian govt. blocked 168 rivers water by damming 249 rivers. The Bangladeshi people are suffering a very poor time for water and river. Farrakhan dam is malediction for Bangladeshi people. Ganges water hindered by Farakka. In that time Indian govt want to build a dam on Surma, Kushiara, and Borak river. If it will happen more than 2 core peoples will suffer.

What is the global situation of rivers? It is impossible to talk about human civilisation without talking about Water.

One generation passeth away,

and another generation cometh;

but the earth abideth always...

all rivers runneth to the sea,

yet the sea is not full...


The words are beautiful, haunting and suddenly anachronistic, but they are not true owing to growth, change and devolvement during our lives. Even degraded rivers seldom totally runneth at all, but loiter in a chain of reservations. In some years our mightiest rivers, Africa's Nile, Asia's Yellow, America's Colorado, Australia's Murray do not reach the sea...

"Water War" will present some small story about the people who are suffering for water. It will be performed by two characters, they are acting in speaking mood. They tell five stories. Five stories are ...

1. Dighal Kumari, a story of a sweet village girl who will die for water.

2. Alluvial Lande, a story of rivers crying and alluvial lands people.

3. Love story, A mythological love story about rivers, a green love story of Ganges and Sitolakkha (River names).

4. Water Bottle, a story of bottling water.

5. Dam, a story about Dam.

Not only are the Bangladeshi people suffering by water. The whole World and Nature are suffering for water. We are losing our natural beauty and people's natural activities. People and Nature are fighting for water in opposition to some peoples.

And there are people here in Australia, here in the west, who refuse to consider the option of recycled water or even share their dams with neighbouring shires OF THE SAME STATE AND COUNTRY.

Wake up world, pollution kills.

… and bottling water from a spring in France and shipping it all over the world for the luxury of the polluters is just pure madness.

How many carbon credits in the production of one bottle of less-than-pure springwater from the Evian spring once it arrives in the offshore export country??? Not to mention at all the environmental implications in the use of plastics and the population’s lack of mental strength to grasp the concept of “recycling receptical”… sheesh…

Bangladesh is a country that I know very little about. When I think of it though, I think of monsoons and thick lush terrain with a rich, colourful, vibrant, long-lasting and resilient local culture. Not at all like this dusty island nation that recieves so little empathy from it’s population in times of drought.

It is sad to think that the actions of one country that shares resources, that has a responsibility to it’s neighbours and to the livlihood of our global community and global community mental health, could allow such ‘greed’ to take place.

Where are the international ethics on river systems, is it allowable for a country to block a river that flows to another country’s life-line? It is allowable for one nation to dam a river and stop it flowing before it escapes the border of it’s jurisdiction?

Does a country own a river that does not start within it and flows through to the other side of it to another border?

I becomes particularly nasty if the sanitation system of the water greedy country in question is questionable and squanderous in it’s directive and resource.

What does a de-salination plant cost in carbon credits again???

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Environmental art project grants - $13,000

Can arts make a difference to the environment?

If you are an emerging artist under the age of 26 that works with visual art as a means to promote the environment and sustainability, than you may be interested in trying for a slice of this rather generous pie.

Queensland Conservation and the Australia Council are working towards creating a number of unique projects fusing the world of the arts and activism.

What a novel idea!

Utilising the artist as a catalyst for change, and change as a catalyst for the artist, the grant promises to give support and training in association with Feral Arts in Brisbane ( Such is the need for promoting sustainable environmental ideologies to diversified audiences, art is generally a medium that appeals (in some form or other) to just about everyone in every culture.

$A15 000 (including $2000 for travel) in mentorships will be awarded to deserving young emerging artists to raise environmental challenges in their work. Artists will be involved and mentored by environmental activists to learn about issues ranging from climate change to biodiversity conservation. The end result to be a magnificent work or works that will bring together the environment, community and creativity.

From the press release:

Ryan Dillon, Queensland Conservation Executive Member says the HELM-Arts (Healthy Environment Leadership Mentoring) project is innovative because it helps develop a new generation of artistic leadership.

“This project will expose, train and support young artists and shape them into effective leaders who can advocate for a sustainable world through their art,” Dillon says.

“Queensland Conservation, the peak body for more than 60 environmental groups in Queensland, is well placed to build closer links with the art sector,” Dillon states, “and we are hoping to attract nominations from a broad range of artists, geographical locations and ethnic backgrounds.”

“We created the term HELM-Arts as we feel it is up to young people to take the helm and lead the way with environmental change,” Dillon says.

The Art Action Union had a discussion with Ryan Dillon about art challenging environmental education.

We discussed how the mentorship grants will help these young emerging artists bloom.

Ryan said in a manner of speaking, “the good thing is that it’s a partnership with the Queensland Conservation Council/Australia Council and Feral Arts, two of the best and most well networked environmental and arts organisations in this region. We hope the project will network people from all over the country to create outcomes in Queensland and cross-train arts activists with direct hands on experience to create an ‘eco arts space’ to be watched and anticipated.”

I like the way Ryan used the term ‘eco arts space’ it creates a vision of a new and necessary arts culture. A microcosmic and specialised art form that has purpose and reward.

We discussed what will happen with the work once it is finished? How will the work be used as an education tool for awareness beyond the initial grant timeframe?

Mr. Dillon had a very strong idea that it was open for interpretation.

“Given the diversity of artists that we are expecting to see apply for this opportunity, it really will be up to the discretion of the successful artist. All artists will have their merits measured against the same criteria but that doesn’t mean that we will have a set idea about what type of work it will be and how it will be finished. The artists must demonstrate professionalism but it is up to them to prove that they have the best plans in arts education for sustainable environment and the best way of presenting it for long-term educational and arts benefits.

We are looking for art that is provocative and emotionally engaging, hopefully the viewer will see the art and want to get involved actively with climate change. The main motivation behind the HELM terminology is to provide a vision for young people to form their ideas around leadership in this area. They are at the HELM of the Titanic with the iceberg [ironic ‘cause really they are melting] looming in the near distance, the artist has to steer that ship with creative thinking to take a new course and not crash. To engage a new audience through new networks. It is up to the artists to decide what is provocative.”

Thanks to Ryan for his time and patience with my dodgy technology.

It is hoped that the HELM-Arts project will become an annual arts grant event.

Further about the initiative is available online at is available online at:

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009





Animals Asia, Australia Branch, is calling for artists to donate works to raise money for their Moon Bear Operations in China. As the event is only two weeks away they are hoping to have all the pieces together by the end of this week but if people can’t make that deadline, they are willing to accept pieces up until about Tuesday 2nd June.

Please contact Anne if you are interested:

The exhibition is being held in conjunction with a presentation from Animals Asia Foundation’s Chinese Relations Director, Ms Christie Yang. So if you are not able to donate artwork, you may wish to attend the event.

Tickets are $25 (Aust.) each and can be purchased by contacting Anne at the above email.

Artworks will be silently auctioned at the Red Lips Gallery (owned by renowned artist Rae Heint) to raise vital funds for Moon Bear rescue.

Saturday 6th June 2009
Doors open at 7 pm, Presentation on Animal Asia’s work in China will commence at 8pm
Red Lips Gallery, 60 Excelsior Street, Leichhardt NSW



The Ursa Freedom Project ( is projecting forward with the Movement developing into much more than a campaign for fund-raising, although this being it’s most important function.

Animals Asia ( operate in China and Vietnam rescuing bears and rehabilitating them as best as possible, although many of the bears sustain lifelong injuries and diseases as a result of their treatment in the bile farms. It costs a lot of cash to house and provide them with the special nutrition they need to peacefully fulfill their new-found days of freedom, so fund-raising and sponsoring of bears is directly going to the victims of these commercialisms and the organisation that frees them.

The Ursa Freedom Family is committed to liberating the bears that are bred, born and captured into a life of torture and abuse. The Bile that is extracted from the stomachs of these bears is used in commercial products for which there are cruelty free alternatives. This industry is supported by the people who buy those products and at the bottom of the pit of change, the first step to take before a market can be effected enough to fundamentally alter or cease existence, is to educate the consumers. And that’s where targeted awareness can be a radical approach to education.

Art Action Union is currently highlighted and praised on the home page at the Ursa Freedom Project (THANKS JEANETTE).

Founder of the Ursa Freedom Project, journalist and activist Jeanette McDermott, approached the Art Action Union on Ecopaparazzi to lend a hand with spreading the word. So what do we do? We spread the word! Issuing forth blogs and news and art challenges on all our sites about the project, connecting a number of networks spanning from Facebook to Redbubble, from Ning to YouTube and so the twitter bug carries the Chinese whisper.

If you visit the UFP site you can see that the AAU have also produced a couple of promotional vids

We also have an 11 minute documentary in the approval system waiting for a go ahead. (I have been busy lol)

We have designed a brochure for email circulation amongst welfare organisations to bring awareness of the wonderful efforts that are happening in a grassroots – yet global – way!


The AAU Redbubble group ran a challenge to help get people not only on board but wearing and looking at awareness. Congratulations to nofrillsart ( for the winning tee Save the Moon Bear (Bile farming makes me sick to the stomach) T-Shirt, last I heard Glenn had sold at least 4 of this design. If you visit the page too, you can see a small proportion of the people who found awareness to this topic through creative activism – and that’s not even taking into consideration the army of fans that would have seen but not spoken, or the people who see the t-shirts being worn.

Glenn chose to sell his tees with no mark up to encourage buyers to spread the word about the cause and the plight of the bears for commercial and consumer attitudinal change. By contrast another very active and passionate member of the AAU collective, Lupe (, made sales on some of her many and varied anti-bile farming/save the moon bears tees and donated the sales directly to the Ursa Freedom Project’s donation page sending the funds straight to Animals Asia.


Kids always have a way of saying things in a special way - a way that makes you feel happy, sad, safe and scared and a variety of other emotions all at once. Sometimes their application of their view of a situation can completely change the adult world, too many kids are robbed of their opinions. My eldest daughter Olivia (8) is often quite interested in the gozillions of projects that I pile around me so the Moon Bear project, being the animal LOVER she is, made her particularly thoughtful. It prompted her to participate and sent her off on a magical and imaginative picture process that resulted in a beautiful charm for the souls of these sweetly fierce mammals.

What made this very extra sweet from here in Australia was that she was joined in mind and spirit by Angelique’s ( son Josiathe in Nashville USA. Josaithe is also 8 and together - I reckon they nailed it!

Goodbye bile farming!

By Olivia, 8 years, Brisbane Australia

By Josaithe, 8 years, Nashville USA


For those of you who may enjoy Australian soap opera (no not I said the little red hen, I had to google the name, but I was surprised none the less) … you may be interested to know that Home and Away actor (and evidently, also singer) Bernard Curry has written and contributed a song to the URSA Freedom Family, named Willow’s Song. I had contacted Mr. Curry in the hope that he would contribute more of his media prowess to the cause to nil reply.

I reckon we can change his mind, contact me if you want his email address… ha! Just joking but some one should hassle him for a media release, it would do greater things than he perhaps would know.

You can listen to a soapie singer singing for great things at the Ursa Freedom Site home page (music player is on the left, just down a little bit).

ANIMOTO FOR A CAUSE – SUBMISSIONS WANTED FOR ACTIVIST ART VIDEO is a website designed to create slide-shows that amaze! A free Animoto account allows a 30 second promo vid that you can post online. What you do is you upload a ton of still images, choose a sound track and mix it. The site mashes the pics through some filters and things and comes out with something cool. You can re-mix the vids as many times as you like until you get one to satisfaction. A free account however gives you very little control over some aspects of the animation so its message presentation potential is limited.

Animoto for a Cause is a special account that you can apply for to which gives you full access to pro-video services in order to quickly and easily make targeted slide-shows that atmospherically move to a soundtrack creating an almost cinematic experience. Additional benefits allow the user to upload images and music but also include text headlines, ebeddable AND downloadable and also available in high definition DVD format for those really special projects. It’s a great way of presenting artwork and also a really easy and no fuss way of creating really professional looking advertisements. Given that the files are downloadable too, they become really awesome motion fills for larger movies that you may be editing in other video making software. You just import the .mp4 file into your editor as a video track.

Having had a free Animoto account for a year, the moment they circulated news of this new scheme I applied on a hunch … and they gave us one!

I have been fiddling with it to get the feel of it but I have a plan to showcase more activist art from our groups this way in the future –

For some idea of what this can do you can compare and contrast:

This is the first AAU vid promo I created using the free account

Find more videos like this on ART ACTION UNION COMMUNITY
This is the latest AAU vid promo (pretty ill-concepted and quick but you get the idea) using Animoto for a Cause

We want to make a vid with your art in it too. If you have any specific pieces that you would like us to add to the next promo send a link or attachment to:

The final video will replace the one that is currently set as the AAU promo vid and will eventually sit on the front page of the portal when it is finally fully operational - mwahawwwhawww like the Death Star!



Living in the age where sex sells just about everything and anything has consequences, particularly on society and more worryingly on young people. Time and statistics is proving that relying on institutionalised education in matters of safe and healthy intimacy is failing in large populations and the third world.

Is it up to the community to find the solutions to these issues? Let's not leave it to mainstream media, shall we?

Conscientious fashion professionals have taken the issue to the catwalk of New York - getting straight to the heart of the cause by infiltrating the fashion conscious teen. On the 8th May 2009 Midwood High School in Brooklyn New York was the centre of awareness for Aids education.

In collaboration with Designers Against AIDS and Sunny Downstate Medical Centre, website NINETEEN74 Director, Raoul Keil, described the vision for the event:

In the wake of another revolutionary fashion event and the anticipation of its first major New York based catwalk show, NINETEEN74 collaborates for a great cause with young professionals; examining the issues of HIV and AIDS, improving sex education and promoting safer sex. It is indeed true- the US, particularly areas in New York: eastern Brooklyn, the Bronx and Northern Manhattan are in a state of sexual meltdown and the most threatened are teenagers. HIV infections are registered among youths aged from 13-29; 1 in 3 students in NYC are being sexually active at present and there’s a disproportionate percentage of teenage pregnancies escalating. Organised by NINETEEN74, director Raoul Keil; The NYC AGAINST HIV/AIDS fashion show will cite the existing pressures and consequences of unprotected sex. It will present an impartial approach providing the reality of the virus through two major elements: education and entertainment. We don’t want to impose but rather expose the need for better sex education for youths. Through the sheer medium of fashion and visual performance, all of the designers and contributors [make-up artists, stylists and models] involved tackle the motto: 1 LIFE 1 CHANCE. NINETEEN74 are here to reinstate that safer sex is fashionable.

Following the event there is an excellently informative and extremely aesthetic publication, which tells you the shocking truth, while feeding you beautiful concepts to push the message home.

I asked Raoul about the reaction to the message that was presented in this provocative and chic event.

Q. What is the one phrase you remember from the evening that summed up what you were hoping to achieve?
A. With our event NYC against HIV has reached a local audience of 1100 guests attending the show plus 100 000 online viewers. We wanted to increase awareness about HIV and show that high profile professionals have the power as individuals to educate a young audience and entertain at the same time.

Q. Why do you believe that fashion can be a powerful catalyst for Aids education?
A. Every individual needs to dress, and each individual should be aware of dangers in the world, but why always presenting it as evil. With our fashion show we caught the attention to raise awareness about the possibility to protect and show that everybody on that planet is involved! and hopefully we cleared the heads of those kids from HIV being a "dirty" virus by showing them the effort all the talent involved has made.

According to their official press release:

The event was brought to life through the valiant efforts of health and wellness advocate Karen Jemmott, Director of Physician Outreach at SUNY Downstate Medical Centre, and Raoul Keil, Founder and Director of creative networking site Jemmott and Keil met through a mutual acquaintance,
Ninette Murk, Founder and Director of Designers Against Aids, who suggested for them to collaborate together for a cause: ‘NYC against HIV’ was born!

‘1 Life 1 Chance’ was the thread which tied together all of the contributors on the project to spread the word about the benefits of delaying sexual contact as well as practicing safer sex. The project focused on the hopes of making the next generation healthier, happier and better informed.

At the forefront of the catwalk show were the vibrant and chaotic creations of UK designer Emma Bell who recently showed her Autumn/Winter 2009 collection at London Fashion Week. Hair and Make up by Artlist Paris based famous Steven Canavan, and Cecilia Romero, who worked their magic on the models and produced an intriguing show.

With the success of NYC against HIV, Ninette Murk and Raoul Keil have hopes of replicating its message in other cities across the world by bringing together budding talent and health activists to spread the word.


Here are some very cool ideas about the re-definition of educational values for the benefit of community. Presented as audio documentaries accompanied by some great articles of 'leftern' viewpoint.


The Pacific Storms Exhibition in Bundaberg creates a great opportunity for cultural creativity to bring understanding to us about some of the people that Australians live closest to. Particularly if you live in Queensland (and can get to Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery) as we see many Pacific Islanders moving amongst us.

Pacific Storms will be celebrated from the 3rd – 12th July, an exhibition accompanied by an array of cultural activities such as Lei making, dancing, audio-visual performance, family fun-day and weaving.

For more information visit


A list of organisations recommending the use of toilet tissue tat is made from recycled paper.

Australian Department of Environment and Water Resources

New Zealand Ministry for Environment

United States Environmental Protection Agency

United Kingdom Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

Environmental Defense

Natural Resources Defense Council

Worldwide Fund for Nature

Eco Buy Victoria (Australia)

Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment

Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW

Queensland Environmental Protection Agency

Planet Ark

Links provided in context by “Safe”, the toilet paper … it’s wrapped in brown paper… like a favourite thing!

And while we are on the topic of ethical consumption, Australians should visit this site:
A guide to ethical groceries ... what a gem this is! Although it still won't make shopping with young children any easier, in fact most likely harder and longer ...

There is also this seemingly reputable UK website:

The Art Action Union, Uni Students and Activist Education

A little while back I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop that was organised by the Australian Student Environmental Network. The day was absolutely value packed with active education utilising creative learning tools such as role plays, drawing and active problem solving, and what workshop is complete without a bunch of crazy games that require looking silly, or running madly with arms flailing. All free and provided by volunteers, including a yummy, homely vegetarian lunch.

Image provided by Australian Student Environmental Network, Educating the Educator August 2008

Among all the eating, role-playing and drawing though, I managed to gain a hell of a lot of ideas and enthusiasm (not to mention, the realisation that as an active listener I suck, yes, you all knew it I know). I met like-minded and concerned people who want to feel empowered and want to use their skills and knowledge to promote forward and positive progress in all communities. It's nice to meet people in this way; it reminds us that we are not alone in our insecurities and passions.

The day focused on how to get your own action group up and running, how to facilitate community meetings, how to get your message out to the community and explored topics of strategy and audience.

I was also nicely introduced to this massive and extremely active network of capable caring souls pushing their minds and spare time to the limits in public service. Concerned with topics that span all issues we heard personal stories of immigration, cultural challenge, environmental action, veganism and women's issues. I also became familiar with terms such as "Dumpster Diving" (by which starving students tour the inner city suburbs visiting the garbage receptacles of local food vendors and 'rescue' the edible delights that these businesses carelessly discard after a day's display).

Find out more about the Australian Student Environmental Network at:

Other related activist-education resources as recommended by ASEN:

The Change Agency (Brisbane Based)

Training for Change (Philadelphia Based)

Thanks especially to Clare Towler and all the team for being so awesome and active in helping others to get to a level of expression in their communities.

Green Peace With An Artistic Farewell For Climate Action

The Greenpeace International vessel the Esperanza spent part of last year promoting an Energy [R]evolution to renewables as the Australian federal government was developing a response to climate change, a response that fell very short of expected targets and was largely disappointing and internationally embarrassing.

Images courtesy of Greenpeace Australia

As the vessel sailed up the Queensland coast it stopped off here and there to make powerful direct actions, including powering down the largest coal fired power station in Australia at Eraring, occupying the top of Ipswich power station smokestack for nearly two days, and painting climate change statements on the sides of twenty massive coal ships near Mackay.

The Esperanza's visit to Australia came to an end in Cairns (North Queensland) as artist Jorge Pujol directed a candle-formation in the shape of a wind turbine. A fine example of creative statement making being utilised to make an endpoint and to draw in another audience.

More than 7000 people toured on board the Esperanza as it stopped in ports along the eastern Australian coast. We were able to visit and get a first hand encounter with a boat that sees a lot of important and intrepid activity in the southern oceans and all over the world, when it docked in Brisbane.

The Esperanza is used most frequently in anti-whaling campaigns in the Southern Oceans because of it's size and inflatable raft capability (it has 11). It is also the home of a large boat called the African Queen, used in the Amazon River recently to confront illegal fishing.

images copyright 2008 Kathleen Cameron

The first image is one of the famous inflatables you see on the news wire doing all those amazingly courageous antics to keep reporting what is real and to bring awareness to the world... and that's the famous rainbow!

Greenpeace Australia Photographic Exhibition - 30 Years of Inspiring Action

Greenpeace International

Donate to Greenpeace
Donations at this time will fund their new campaign to bring direct political action on Climate Change.

How To: Grow Veggies From Art

Northcote Community Gardens (Melbourne Australia) are a great example of how local community groups can utilise their collective creative talents and their passion for sustainability to promote their activities to their communities and the world.

T-shirts for sale by Northcote Community Gardens at

From their RedBubble profiile:
... any profits made from these images will be used to sustain the gardens and hopefully buy a water tank! We also have many creative people among our members including photographers designers, and artists, so we plan to keep the quality of our work up...

Rebecca made this statement when I asked her about the Northcote Community Gardens' collective:

Northcote Community Gardens is very small by most community gardens standards, with only 15 plots, but we are very passionate about our little plots of veges, and the joy we all get from gathering together to grow food and share. We are a diverse group of people of different ages and cultural backgrounds, and that also adds to the creative mix. We like to share our creative skills with the group and often have little workshops on topics ranging from felt-making to seed saving to pumpkin soup making to how to promote ourselves and fundraise. Growing our own food organically and caring for our little plots of earth is a creative act, as is making the little mosaics, or natural found object sculptures that decorate our plots, or photographing our produce…and designing tshirts to spread the word!

We also feel that growing your own food is rapidly becoming an important political and environmental statement….plus home grown just tastes better! Community gardens are more and more in demand in urban environments and they are fabulous places for people to learn, and connect and create…we urge everyone to get involved in community gardens…GROW FOOD and save the world!

Northcote Community Gardens Blog

Lorie's Pet Cause

Lorie Rhoden - otherwise known as half of Crockpot Productions – is an avid animal rights supporter. She tells us of her personal attitude towards animal abuse and why she feels compelled to watch that footage.

Why I Get Angry

I have to get angry.
It's like this.
Every time I watch video footage about animal cruelty I cry like a baby. I can't help it. This is the kind of stuff that makes me despise the human race and it makes me ashamed to be part of it. This is the kind of thing that makes me feel like things will never change - at least not enough. I feel like people are evil and always will be; and that people like us will never be large enough in number to make others understand or care. Stuff like this is the kind of stuff that makes me want to have nothing to do with our society, this world, or this life. It makes me want to die.

But then I get angry.
Before the tears have even dried on my cheeks, I get sooo angry about the state of the world and our society and about the people who don't understand or care. And I want to make change happen - somehow.I've yet to come up with a foolproof plan - but at least when I'm angry I'm feeling the need and the passion to do something - to make a change for the better. To make people understand and care.

And being angry at society and passionate about animals is, in the long run, going to be far more productive than being dead. So no matter how hopeless I feel; no matter how much I feel like I just can't sit through another video; I find a way to move onward and keep working towards my goal to make things better for all the voiceless creatures whose lives depend on people like us.

Art, Action and Awareness - Stuff to do now!

Join the Art Action Union Community and add stuff

Learn about the 350 Climate Campaign

Look at (and perhaps purchase) some active wear from some witty designers

Donate to the World Wildlife Fund

Read about the diversities of feminism and find 1001 Links at Feminist Ezine

Discover Blue King Brown Activizm/Educationism

Posimism and ProActivism
Feature Projects from Around the Globe for the Greater Good!

Skateistan: Afghanistan’s 1st Co-ed Skateboarding School

Crescent City Art Project: the Kids of Katrina

Blogs and Logs

Do you have an Activist Art Blog or Website or know of a really good one? Nominate it for our news mail by sending a link to:

Helen Bascom expresses her opinion on "Visionaries" because of pressure from others in other places to stop her questioning her government through photographic art in public.

"A frustrated graphic artist, so what better way to get over it than to build a website where real artists can express themselves." Eric Wilson, Founder of Artevist

'By supporting Frame Lines you not only support the artists but you also support the need for an alternative media for magazines. You support the reduction of damage to the environment.' read more!


Hope you made it to the end of this huge issue... sporadically brought to you by me at the AAU Base Computer...

Aspire to inspire y'all!


Sunday, March 29, 2009


MOON LIGHTING... to free the moon bears


Ursa Freedom Project began on March 20 (Vernal Equinox) when, in the evening sky, the constellation Ursa Major rises up from the NorthEastern horizon (Northern Hemisphere).

The campaign builds through a series of monthly posters and activities that catapult the whole world into action on June 21 (Summer Solstice).


Sign the Petition
Create Art For the Bears (NB. Art can be submitted to the project site or directly to
Join The Community or Commit your Skills to the Project
Listen to Mafi's Song by Jay Jourden
Embed Educational Videos to your Video Sites
Visit Animals Australia and meet the Rescued Bears
Add Badges and Banners to your sites (get HTML)
Join the Facebook Cause (and generally post to Facebook if you use it! or any other social networking community for that matter)

Below are are some of the artistic contributions so far.... show the world what a pro-active group of concerned artists can do to raise awareness to ALL people...

You all have your audience...

You all have your style...

You all have influence...

You all have hearts...


I am sure...

You all have CONTACT LISTS...

Although I don't encourage spammmmmm.... telling a few people would be great too!


Find more videos like this on ART ACTION UNION COMMUNITY

Monday, February 23, 2009


The Photo of the Week Feature on the mid right hand side... SEE THAT!!!(click the image to view complete in new window)

Cool hey... hopefully this will bring our activities some more audience...

Thanks for being a bunch I can be proud to brag about...

I see the AAU as a giant experimental art collective project and the internet is the canvas...

Onward and upward...

Aspire to Inspire


Sunday, February 15, 2009



This weekend just passed, Victoria in Australia has seen the most horrible and horrific of disasters, one not experienced here in modern times . It is hard to identify with what has been happening because to identify with the lessons to be learned from this experience, we need to delve into a situation of which it is easy to run and hide from. In our humble modern humanity there are those of us who still find it difficult to accept our vulnerability against the fury of the elements. And the flames were furious and many lives were lost. There are fires still burning.

Fingers are being pointed and many people want answers that may never come, but I guess from this singular perspective, I can only pray that if there was criminal intent, justice will be served.

For another perspective, Miranda Divine writes opinion for the Sydney Morning Herald and has raised the questions environmentalists will cringe to read, may indignantly defend or may pray that a balance can be found where we are not choosing between populations and vegetation density or our habitat. Particularly when we have been, and are from that habitat and many of our peers have now gone back to it's Earth element through those fires of havoc.

Lots of us have already given all the spare funds that we can, but if you can give still... here is the donation link for the Red Cross, you can also donate blood to help if you can (thnx bites)...

There are also many other items and general living things that may be called for such as:

The latest request for the bush fire victims
We have had an extremely sombre request today.
Wallan Community Centre has put out an urgent request for suits. These suits are for families who have lost relatives, and also their homes, and need them to attend their relatives’ funerals. Any shape and size of suit is fine.
If you have anything you would like to donate – please let me know.
Kind regards,
Kristin Flanagan
Events and Communications Coordinator / Special Projects
E: | P:(03) 8615 2266 | M: 0458 372 765
A: Level 2, 398 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC, 3000 | W:
(thnx Melinda)

The good artists at RedBubble have also organised The Phoenix Appeal to raise more funds for the many many families and communities that require rebuilding...

Victoria's bushland and wildlife will feel the effects of these fires for the remainder of the century.

The Art Action Union extends it's thoughts and hopes to the victims and heroes, peace and love.


The entire north of Queensland has officially 'plunged' into flooding disaster status. Raining since January and with cyclones and king tides, it's been described as a downpour of "biblical proportions".


New Internationalist is a magazine with the bi-line, 'The people, the ideas, the action in the fight for global justice'.

Their website footer states: "New Internationalist (NI) workers' co-operative exists to report on issues of world poverty and inequality; to focus attention on the unjust relationship between the powerful and the powerless worldwide; to debate and campaign for the radical changes necessary to meet the basic needs of all; and to bring to life the people, the ideas and the action in the fight for global justice."

It has a passionate feel and a definite yet subtle 'angstyness' about it, including aesthetic and appropriate design that is balanced by the obvious intelligence of the data encapsulated in the immediately recognisable stories of appeal.

The extra creatively activist angle is that they are currently looking for poetry to highlight the constant vigilance we keep for the prevalence of human rights around the world.

Rhymes for Rights - New Internationalist Magazine
Our Publications Team are busy compiling a human rights based poetry anthology with poets from around the world. The aim is to have a hundred poems from a hundred different poets. And we need your help! If you have a favourite poet or poem that you think might fit the bill, please email us your suggestions.
Interpret human rights in the broadest possible sense; we're not just after poetry of protest; affirmations are as valuable (and much harder to find) as complaints; translations are fine; poets should be fairly contemporary (ie 20th century to ones still alive); established names and unknowns equally welcome.
Please email your suggestions to:


Our Mission Statement:

+ to empower and gather activist artists together to broaden the appeal of communication of messages regarding important issues in society.

+ to promote and market our activities with a critical mass wherever possible to strengthen voice and communication of the message.

+ to ACTION issues as they arrive and when needed, but to also continually create awareness about social justice and topics that are always under scrutiny or are concerning to the artists.

+ to forge links with larger and more influential socially active community networks, in order to get exposure to coordinate with whatever we are needed for and to hopefully gain artists opportunities to get their ideas into the public arena through print, internet and ultimately traditional events such as exhibitions.

+ to stimulate awareness amongst our communities by actively acting collectively and artistically.

+ aspire to inspire.

Some specifically related info:

The Basics of Pro-Activist Art For Social Change

Terms and Conditions of Membership of the Art Action Union and our basic (very basic) Legal Disclaimer.


Visiting this page
will take you to a list of Art Action Union directory links, this page is intended to be a quick guide to all the pages and networks and affiliations and groups where the Art Action Union (or I as your spokesperson) have a presence. There are still more to add but I would love to hear of more networks where art and activism are a major topic. If you know of any sites that we could sign up to with a view to awareness of the work that activist artists do, and that they need support with promotion (and yes financially too), please send me an email.

The AAU is many things, it can be a place of venting, a place of healing, an art gallery, a discussion forum. It is a collaboration in itself, and all the sites we add and spread our peace dove wings to, become part of that collaboration and the internet, be it an art site, a social networking site or whatever, is not only our canvas, but our voice and our medium for public ethics and morality to be called on in a continuous and diverse and fun and accessible way.


The artists of this collective are BRILLIANT!!! We have already accumulated a vast amount of intelligence and perspective and it just makes a big beautiful bowl of news and arts for me to write about. So for this section of our bumper news mail today - sit back and relax while I unearth some of the passionate people of our experiment.

Visual Fusion Collations:

shanghaiwu - is a digital fusion artist who is heavily influenced by her personal experiences in China and Japan, she lives in Australia.

Curious Comic Collations:

Mark Brumfield's eclectic and creative comic commentaries are inspiring, check out the shapes and vividness of colour contrasted with age old characters with quirky texts.

Audio Collations:

Find more music like this on The JB Seed
Mother Earth
Kate Watts and the Blue Ruins

Video Collations:

Kaisha (see her music too)

SORRY DAY 2008 to AUSTRALIA DAY 2009 ...

Victoria Morphy recently shared with us the experience of her first hand encounter with the momentous event that is known in Australia as "Sorry Day" with the Art Action Union. I thought it a cool idea on the Anniversary, to contrast the wonderful art that many members of the Art Action Union Group on Redubble shared with their audiences back on the 13th of February. It was an awareness campaign that was launched on the eve of the eve of the day, but brought forth a pouring of emotion and healing. Particularly for many people who haven't had the chance to express their regret in any other way previously. This is the blog article link, as we were in such infancy then, I don't have the collection I wished in the back catalogue, but I thought it right to retrospectively draw attention to the effort.


The JB Seed Arts Grants Program is taking submissions NOW! They have also started a forum ... oh look on Ning too... quite like ours for sharing and planting and cross-pollinating ... oh they are good with the Music stuff. :-)


Only 8 votes in our little crappy poll-for-fun, please join in the mayhem and click for a chance to push the boundaries of the universal institution that is collective consciousness ... for each click we receive your soul ... for keeping safe of course!!!

For the Stop the Alberta Tar Sands actions!

GAZA ...

A conversation I had on our Facebook Group not very long ago ...

Post #1
Bissan (Palestine) wrote on January 14, 2009 at 1:52am
What is your stand on Gaza and what is going on there.

Post #2
Kath wrote on January 14, 2009 at 9:17am
Hi Bissan, I think that the Israelies are not following any mandate of tolerance ...

it is a very messy war and i can't see resolution... my view is that israel should not invade their neighbours... and should take heed of the international pressure for them to STOP killing people... no matter who backs them...

my understanding is not overly comprehensive but it seems that after world war 2 simply carving out a nation by dividing up a number of existing borders in the middle of a tribal and ancient land was always a bad idea.

there are many displaced people's of the world... they didn't 'make' a country for the Kurds after Sadam invaded Kuwait in the Gulf Conflict...

however, Israel I believe must also act like the rest of the world when it comes to responsible immigration policy... if they haven't got the room people can't live there, jew or not!

We can work together Bissan and create and art project to bring awareness about this topic if you like...

The only other thing I can do is post links for petitions from Amnesty International, of which I was planning to do at some stage today.

Post #3
Bissan (Palestine) wrote on January 14, 2009 at 10:38am
I am very impressed and happy with your perspective.. it made my day.
The point I am going to make is
It is not a war about religion...

Palestine is a country for Jews, Muslims and Christians, it is the site for their holy locations..
so I will ask this: How can Zionists make it a Jewish country??
It is not just offensive to Muslims, it is also offensive to Christians and Jews themselves.

The Zionists have been ignoring the UN resolutions and etc for centuries, who do they think they are..
It is time the time to wake up.

Bissan Nohra is a young Palastinian woman who is studying in the US, she is deeply and personally passionate about raising awareness for the issues that are happening on the Gaza Strip. The conflict between Israel and Palastine which is ancient and difficult to fully interpret, but those living there understand it - they understand that they are innocent and they are being killed.

Palastina II

Let "US" Play War

We can support her by participating in the Gaza Awareness Campaign which will be launched soon ... watch out for a RedBubble Challenge and basically channeled campaigning ... you need to join with us and promote your work to your audiences, promote other people's work and generally talk about Gaza however and wherever you can. I know you will all put on your protest pants and be the Armchair Activists we all are. Won't ya!

Start thinking NOW about art, songs, videos, poetry, stories, articles, posters, pamphlets, t-shirts ... everything and anything to POSITIVELY promote a peaceful move forward for the families and children that are having their existence destroyed by this craziness.


Well Saturday's show is on Valentines day soooo ... being the women we are it's about love. That's LOVE not LUST (if we can separate the two) from as many angles as we can cover in the short time we've got!

Be serenaded by Jesse, Tian and moi (if you're lucky I will sing too) on Saturday in Brisbane between 2-3pm on 4zZz 102.1 fm Megaherzzz... it's a show by chicks about women's issues (of course, it's hard NOT to gossip about the blokes though ... ahem ... or complain ... or ... celebrate ... depends on the mood really ... and that's OUR prerogative right!)


GAWWWWDDDD.... WHAT A MOUTHFUL THAT WAS ... hope you got it all, and wrote notes ... now go forth and create!!!

Peace and Harmony on you!!!

:-) Kath and the decentralised gang

Monday, January 12, 2009



The more the merrier and the more bizarre and informative minds we get to mingle with...

Our community collective has had members join from lots of diverse places recently and the new year has brought new thoughts and perspectives for the education and awareness of any who happen by the spaces the Art Action Union Inhabits. We now are up to 97 members, can we kick in past ONE HUNDRED with a sprint? INVITE INVITE INVITE people... go nuts...

Our facebook group has swelled to 168 members... feel free to intercept and network through us there also.

On the Art Action Union Creative Activism Group is at 470 likeminded folks who make and post provoking pieces of art and writing pretty much constantly... a activist art feast... We also are affiliated with other groups and have a moderating presence on the panel for Current Issues and Anti-Consumerism...

Follow the movements of the Art Action Union on Twitter by clicking FOLLOW KAOSKYANE

And I have just joined MySpace where I will also be gathering souls for promoting our wears... spread the word, use all your resources and become our army of advertisements... add our badges or logos or banners...

This year too, i will be revisiting our portal to hopefully get it up... as time, life and resources allow :-)


The Art Action Union are very glad to be associated with this great effort from a group of activists in Quebec Canada. Do you know what Tar Sands are? Do you know why they are important and why if they are 'used' for dirty energy it will be a bad thing? Well... find out, educate and make art to spread awareness. What goes around comes around contribute and your heart will find further repose... or at best, good karma will come to you.

From one of the organisers, Christopher Stewart:

The Lepufology Project is a not-for-profit collaborative art project which aims mainly to raise public awareness of the issues and impacts of the non-consensual development of oil sands in Alberta, of the various organizations taking action against it, and of alternative energy sources.

The Alberta tar sands development project has been described as “the largest industrial project in human history and likely also the most destructive.” It raises numerous social, environmental, and economic issues such as declining human health in many communities, the second fastest rate of deforestation on the planet behind the Amazon Rainforest Basin, fragmentation and devastation of bird and wildlife habitat, species loss, atmospheric pollution, acid rain, greenhouse gases, climate change, water pollution, degradation of water quality, contamination and sickening of wildlife and residents, lack of proper consultation and accommodation of First Nations interests, and loss of fishing grounds and traditional hunting and trapping territory.

Because of its sheer scale, the development of tar sands in Alberta impacts all of us, no matter where we are located on the planet.

Artists and artistically inclined people are invited to participate by creating digital art inspired by the cause or by the accompanying sci-fi short story and soundtrack. Then they are asked to submit their artwork to the project, spread it around, and link back to the project's website. Already existing pieces of art are also accepted, and so is art which is related to the cause even if not directly inspired by the story. All forms of art are accepted, as long as they are submitted in digital format easily shareable on the world wide web.

Take action right now ! Participate and help stop the tar sands !


4zZz fm Community Radio in Brisbane is one of Queensland (and Australia's) pioneering grassroot mainstays, not only delivering cutting edge music entertainment and events but offer a bunch of Radical Radio shows... including MegaherzZz. Join us on Facebook!

Unfortunately there is no podcast but ideas for awareness are encouraged and welcome from all parts of the globe. Contact me directly or post to the group if you are not Facebook shy.


Art Action Union member Angelique Price has been copping some great press lately for her beautiful portraits, most recently from Juxtopoz Magazine... and with damn good reason... she is one of the most awesome portrait poster print-makers with a pantone! or sharpie... ever!

What is extra awesome however, enhancing the beauty that emanates from her work, is that she has a gift in bringing out the most vulnerable aspects of political and social leaders through bright, almost psychedelic, hand-drawn and coloured posterisations.

Angelique's portrait of Barack Obama shows not just his strength of character, but she has chosen a pose for him that is less than confident in feel but more the confident looking for counsel. Seemingly a leader who is looking to the people for advice.

But it is her portrayal of strong and courageous women that I love the most ...

Particularly Angelique's tribute to Benazir Bhutto, this artwork brought the knowledge of this woman's strength and untimely demise at the hands of the corrupt and intolerant.


Congratulations to rubyred for gaining the voting advantage for the Peace knot tshirt - buy it now by clicking the image below.

To view (and/or purchase) some of the other inspiring entries of tshirts and wall art, follow the blue link line.....