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.
Susannah is a Martu woman who has over 15 years of experience managing programs in the small to medium arts and culture sector in Australia, the UK and Indonesia. Most recently she was Head of Programs & Operations at Brunswick Mechanics Institute, managed by Next Wave. Susannah has also coordinated the biennial contemporary dance festival Dance Massive in 2017, has been the Program Producer at The Substation, and Producer at The Blue Room Theatre in Perth. Susannah has extensive experience stepping into new organisational roles, designing new creative programs and developing sustainable systems and processes. Susannah manages The Torch’s Statewide Indigenous Arts in Prisons and Community program.
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.
Robby is a Wergaia man who has a strong background in the arts since a very young age. spanning painting, photography, carving, ceramics and music. Robby was introduced to The Torch whilst incarcerated in Barwon prison. Robby now provides art cultural and arts vocational support to Indigenous men and women who are transitioning back to the community in the north western region of Victoria.
Sean is a Kamilaroi man who is now living in Melbourne. Sean 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 designed The Torch’s Confined catalogues the past 3 years. Sean’s preference for his artwork is working with ceramics. 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. Sean provides art, cultural and mentoring support to Indigenous inmates across Victoria.
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 works with The Torch’s female participants in the community as well as across female prisons DPFC and Tarrengower. Also an experienced Group Facilitator, Tarsha will be managing some of the In-Community projects such as mural commissions.
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.
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.
Nerissa has worked with the Victorian Koorie community for many years in the areas of education, art and cultural heritage. As the Senior Curator of Collections at the Koorie Heritage Trust for over 12 years, she brings project management, collection management and curatorial experience to the Torch team. Nerissa’s role at The Torch is to oversee the collection management of the artworks, art sales, licensing & provide exhibition management.
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 with this experience helps to coordinate The Torch’s artwork, support exhibitions, co-ordinate licensing, commissions and sales.
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 Arts Assistant 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 registers all of The Torch’s artwork, supports buyers selecting artworks and processes sales.
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.
Deb is an accountant with over 20 years experience in both the corporate and not for profit sectors and most recently held the position of Finance and Operations at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA). Deb brings experience in supporting smaller organisations during rapid periods of growth and is responsible for managing The Torch’s finance, business development and governance.
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.