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Colourful mural to break down barriers


A mural painting event in Islington this weekend will aim to empower those living with a disability and create community conversation.

The Stand Up, Speak Up activity is being delivered by Community Disability Hunter Alliance (CDAH) as part of City of Newcastle’s Count Us In festival.

CDAH member Ainslie Whitburn says the mural will promote inclusion and help to break down barriers.

“It’s saying ‘yes, we have a disability’ but we’re also similar to people without disabilities,” she told Newcastle Weekly.

“We’ve got the same interests, the same goals and aspirations.

“However, the ‘Welcome to our World’ [slogan] is because there are some things that we need a little bit of help or support with. So, it’s about getting the community down here and getting involved.”

The mural, which is being painted on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 March, will be overseen by UP&UP duo Shane Kennedy and Faith Curtis.

Working under the banner of Unique People, Unique Promise, the creatives foster a powerful sense of community through their graffiti, street art and music.

“We have formed a long-term relationship with CDAH, and I guess it all started from doing a hip-hop track with them a few years ago,” Ms Curtis said.

“From that experience, we made a few friends and kept in contact.

“We’re always looking for different opportunities to paint street art, particularly with a message, and it’s great that this is coinciding with the Count Us In festival.

“We were brainstorming ideas for the mural since before COVID – it’s been a long process, so we’re all really excited to get it done.”

Apart from the mural event, Count Us In also includes a suite of other activities such as a Goal Ball day, which will be hosted by former Australian Paralympians; immersive art and dance experiences; and activations focused on education and awareness, exploring topics like discrimination in the workplace.

Chair of City of Newcastle’s Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee Matthew Byrne encouraged Novocastrians to take part in the festival.

“Inclusion is everyone’s business and the entire community benefits when we all celebrate our abilities,” he said.

The mural will be painted in three sessions across the two days; 10am to 11am, 12pm to 1pm, and 1.30pm to 2.30pm at 194 Maitland Road, Islington. Bookings required.

Visit City of Newcastle’s website for more information or to view the full program.

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