Art from the Margins (AFTM) began as a program to support homeless artists. The idea was born in a Brisbane park beside a coffee van when a member of the Albert Street Uniting Church’s Servant Network was talking with Austin Hellier, an artist living in isolation. Austin spoke about the challenges confronting homeless artists who wanted to display their work to the public. He asked questions like 'How could he participate in the wider arts community?'
Wesley Mission Brisbane made the commitment to support artists whose creative development was limited by homelessness, disability, disadvantage or social isolation, and from there, Art from the Margins was created.
Austin's dream was realised when he exhibited in the first Art from the Margins exhibition in the Albert Street Uniting Church, which was part of the 2008 Brisbane Festival. In 2014, the Art from the Margins Brisbane Festival Art Exhibition attracted over 400 entries from 280 artists – the biggest number of participants in AFTM's history.
Now, Art from the Margins (AFTM) is a not-for profit association and is a creative initiative of Wesley Mission Brisbane. Our aim is to demonstrate our commitment to a just, compassionate and inclusive society.
"The coloured jigsaw puzzle pieces (ultilising 3 primary colours) represent different organisations or individuals in the community coming together to support a confident, capable and equipped artist. I deliberately kept the design open, so more puzzle pieces could be joined without limitation. The artist depicted is specifically gender neutral.
In its first year, the AFTM exhibition and awards consisted mainly of materials, tuition and artistic development opportunities. So I equipped the artist with all the materials needed to produce an artwork. This graphic also highlights AFTM's goal of enabling people experiencing disadvantage to engage in the arts and through that, our community".
Lisa Blake – AFTM Artist was commissioned to design the AFTM logo.