Kent is a Barkindji man, a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and an alumnus of the Wesfarmers Indigenous Arts Leadership Program. He has over 20 years experience as a practising artist and curator and has specialist knowledge of, and connections within, the Indigenous Australian arts and culture industry. Kent has a strong interest in the educational and healing potential of the arts and in 2011 joined The Torch to design, develop and deliver the Indigenous Arts in Prisons and Community program.
Tarsha Davis is a Kuku Yalanji woman from the Mossman region of Far North Queensland. She has spent the last 10 years working in various support roles within Community Health Services and Youth Justice Qld. Tarsha’s painting practice, contemporary and narrative in style, is an act of reclamation and an expression of her healing journey. Tarsha manages the Statewide Indigenous In Prison and Community Program for The Torch.
Paul is a Marrithiyel man and a traditional landowner of the South West region of the Daly River (Northern Territory). Paul is a talented emerging artist who joined the Victorian Justice Department as an Indigenous Prison Officer then moved into an Aboriginal Wellbeing Officer role to better assist the Aboriginal community. Paul provides art and cultural support to Indigenous inmates across Victoria.
Sean is a Gamilaroi man who brings a diverse range of art practices to The Torch having worked across a range of mediums over the past 25 years. Sean has a Certificate III in Graphic Arts and has been a part of the design of The Torch’s Confined catalogues since 2016. Sean was a finalist in the 2016 Indigenous Ceramic Art Awards, and his ceramics have also been acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria and Shepparton Art Museum for their collections. In 2020 he won the Emerging Artist Award at the Koorie Art Show hosted by the Koorie Heritage Trust. Sean provides art, cultural and mentoring support to Indigenous inmates in prison as well as in community across Victoria.
Tracy Wise is a Barkindji/Ngiyaamppa descendent and is affiliated with Wotjabuluk/Gunaikurnai (Maternal), Bundjalung/Wiradjuri mobs (Paternal). She’s been working on a grassroots community level for 20+ years in various positions, both in NSW and Victoria. Tracy describes her life’s work as supporting and guiding mob to overcome challenges in life. Tracy is a spiritual visual artist with a strong understanding of her own culture and a long background in supporting community members. Tracy has a strong cultural connection to the Wimmera Mallee region where she owns and runs a private gallery alongside her Mum.
Matthew is a proud multi-clan nations man, a descendant from the Wemba-Wemba, Neri-Neri, Yiti-Yiti, Mutti-Mutti, Wuradjuri, Yorta-Yorta, Watti-Watti, Barapa-Barapa and Gubbi Gubbi tribes. He also has ancestral ties to the Maori Iwi’s of New Zealand. Matthew developed an appetite, a desire and a dream for the arts when he was young and realised that he could draw, paint and create. Matthew lives in Culture every day through his art practices that include painting, weaving, photography, Smoking Ceremonies, dancing and digital art. Matthew has worked for 11 years for Community in Housing, Admin and AOD work. Matthew will work with The Torch’s male participants in Ravenhall prison and as well as in the community.
Chris is a Keerraaywoorrong man from the Gunditjmara Nation of south western Victoria. Chris is immensely proud of his culture and has found creating art and sharing stories has given him direction in his life. After over 30 years in and out of prison, Chris has now been In Community for over three years. He is an inspiration and has such an amazing amount of lived experience and cultural knowledge to support our In Prison and Post Release artists.
Chris has over 20 years of experience working in the field of Indigenous cultural heritage at the Koorie Heritage Trust and Museum Victoria, including researching, writing and editing cultural resources, project managing exhibitions and managing cultural collections. Her role at The Torch is to research and produce program resources and assist with the management of artworks and exhibitions.
Joel is a Pakana and Koori artist, academic, historian, writer and filmmaker. Joel has a multi-ethnic heritage that also includes Romani and European, and was raised on Peramangk and Kaurna Lands (Adelaide Hills, South Australia). Joel has a BA in Indigenous Studies from University of South Australia, a Master of Fine Arts at Monash University, and recently completed a PhD at Monash University, specialising in decolonising colonial narratives, documentation and literature.
Sarah Barrow has over 10 years of experience in the arts and culture sector, in positions spanning arts facilitation, project management and collection management. She also has experience working alongside a number of remote Indigenous communities, where she supported the development of creative enterprises. Sarah holds a master of art curatorship, and uses this experience as Art Manager to oversee collection management of the artworks, art sales, licensing and provide exhibition management. She also leads the Art team staff members and continues to develop art sales and
licensing opportunities for Torch participants.
Sarah Hall has joined The Torch after working for a not-for-profit arts collective that represents over 900 Indigenous artists from the Western and Central desert region of Australia. In her role as Art Coordinator she will draw from her experiences supporting arts practice in remote communities, as well as her broader experience in theatre and the arts sector. Sarah supports exhibitions, facilitates licensing enquiries, facilitates artwork commissions and takes care of The Torch’s merchandise.
Gabrielle is a recent graduate of the University of Melbourne where she completed a Master of Arts and Cultural Management and Graduate Certificate in Cultural Material Conservation. She has experience in collection management, conservation and art support in non-profit arts organisations including Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association and Arts Project Australia. Gabrielle brings her knowledge and customer service experience to the Sales Coordinator role at The Torch to facilitate sales, assist customers and support the art team.
Danielle has worked in the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) sector for over decade. Her experience in archives and arts spaces is wide ranging including roles at The State Library of Victoria and non-profit Arts Project Australia. She co-founded the Women’s Mural Documentation Project alongside Sally Northfield, producing the award winning “Re-imagining the Women’s Mural: a virtual tour”, a collaborative community arts project with Her Place Women’s Museum and artists Eve Glenn and Megan Evans. Danielle’s role at the Torch will continue her expertise as a Registrations Officer.
Leroy is a Yorta Yorta artist from Echuca who first joined The Torch program in 2014. Leroy paints to share his story, and feel pride in having created art that others will enjoy. He states: ‘When I paint, all my problems go away, I lose myself in my art’. In 2017, Leroy exhibited at Museum Victoria in the exhibition ‘Yannae Wirrate Weelam: The Journey Home’, and in 2019 he was awarded the St Kilda Art Supplies Award presented by The Torch. Leroy’s 2018 artwork ‘Dingo’ was selected to be the first limited edition artist print released by The Torch. Leroy has been working as a part-time Art Support Assistant since Oct 2020. He is responsible for supporting the packing and sale of artwork, collection management and assisting the art-team with exhibitions.
Felicity Chafer-Smith is a Ngarrindjeri woman from South Australia, who is currently studying for a Bachelor of Business with Swinburne University. She is also an artist who enjoys sharing personal memories of growing up with her family though her acrylic paintings on canvas. Felicity was first introduced to The Torch during a term of imprisonment at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre. Upon release and reintegration, Felicity has begun working as the Accounts and Operations Assistant with The Torch.
Gordon has many years of experience working in the fields of CRM Administration, Operations and Marketing. He was excited to join the not for profit sector and expand his knowledge on Indigenous art and culture. His role at The Torch is to coordinate operations and systems within the organisation, and focus on digital marketing strategy.