The Museum of Understanding Through Tolerance and Inclusion supports multi-media projects and exhibitions which provide personal insights into the lived experience of people who are marginalised by multiple discriminations. These stories challenge audiences to reconsider any prejudices and misconceptions they may have. Our goal is to raise public consciousness on diversity and difference. We ask you to open your heart and mind to the participants of these projects, as they have not only exposed their body by participating but also their soul by sharing their most intimate of emotions and thoughts. The support and guidance of the participants from each project has been critical to the integrity of the works.
The projects consist of short films, books, apps, audio interviews, soundscapes, 2D photographic images plus non-traditional 3D sculptural photographic artworks.
We hope that you take the time to view the many different projects that we have created. The projects also have apps for people with sensory, cognitive or learning impairments, books, and film documentaries, hard copy text panels and catalogues. Some projects also include artworks or precious items that the participants have provided to create a larger context of their lives. Each exhibition is available for display and can be curated to suit the space enabling the audiences to immerse themselves into the world of the participants and the artists.
Here are some of our projects:
Blur Projects in partnership with the Women’s Electoral Lobby is creating UNSEEN – a collaborative arts project which shares the hidden experiences of women and homelessness. During one week of each month between March and December 2021, the UNSEEN tiny house and UNSEEN car positioned in a variety of locations across the Sydney CBD, including Martin Place and Circular Quay to act as the central hub for public engagement in the topic of women’s housing insecurity and homelessness. UNSEEN offers women who have, or are experiencing homelessness, to engage as artists, protagonists and advocates to generate greater public awareness of the impact homelessness has had or is having on their lives. By sharing their stories, the women provide a first-hand insight into the diversity of who finds themselves homeless and why. The purpose of UNSEEN is to ensure the voices of women who have, or are experiencing homelessness are included in conversations about which can inform and improve social policy. The UNSEEN tiny house highlights how the Australian housing market lacks affordable rental housing and the tightly targeted social housing with long waiting lists. Throughout 2021, the UNSEEN tiny house, will become invisible as it is slowly wrapped in chrome, inside and out. It will be furnished with clear furniture. The UNSEEN car was wrapped in chrome for March to mirrors the hidden nature of their women experiencing homelessness who live in their cars. Although it appear Chrome in March 2021, it will become blue and reveal itself through out 2021 in parallel to the UNSEEN House. The work generated from the arts hub will be displayed at NSW Parliament House in August 2021 and the UNSEEN Tiny House and Car have been included in VIVID and Head On Photo Festival.
Belinda Mason’s interactive multi layered sensory installation is a mix of glass, photography, film and audio The project was developed in collaboration with the participants who are women with disabilities who have experienced violence or women who have acquired their disability as a direct result of violence. All of these women have the opportunity to reveal the long term impact, and circumstances, of the violence that they have experience and how this has affected their lives. The exhibition provides a focal point for discussion, education and awareness raising – providing the impetus for social change. Funded by the Australia Council for the Arts, the project engaged three other artists Margherita Coppolino, Denise Beckwith and Dieter Knierim and is curated by Kon Gouriotis. The Australian component of the exhibition was showcased in Australia at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale in August 2015. Belinda Mason and Denise Beckwith were invited to speak at the United Nations about this work which enabled the project to become global. Sent Tears formed part of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York in 2016 and 2018 and was exhibited across three galleries in New York over a six month period.
Breaking Silent Codes
In August 2018, UNSW Arts and Social Sciences, Women’s Legal Service NSW and the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence sponsored and hosted a unique forum of 42 Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Pacific Islander women intended to ‘Break Silent Codes’ and share stories of cultural and spiritual responses to the issue of sexual assault and family violence in communities across Australia and the Pacific. The forum provided a platform for women to discuss the ways in which community, religion, authority and family create silences around sexual assault and family violence. There are many injustices experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait and Pacific Islander communities. For a long time, it has seemed that all other matters of injustice are more important than the sexual assault and domestic violence in communities. Women experience this as a silencing of issues important to their spiritual and physical well being. Through this exhibition, website and book, we share with you the stories of this gathering which has now become a movement of its own for First Nations women across Australia and the Pacific. The portraits from Breaking Silent Codes were exhibited as part of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York in 2020.
The exhibition of 3D holographic lenticular portraits and video installation titled Unfinished Business by Belinda Mason and Knierim Brothers Productions exposes the impact of disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout Australia. Premièred at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, 2013, the exhibition was opened by the Director General of the United Nations in Geneva, and the Australian Ambassador to the United Nations to coincide with the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, with the Human Rights Council, 24th Session. The work was then shown at the World Health Headquarters in Geneva before becoming part of the Australian governments contribution to the 2014 United National World Conference on Indigenous Persons in New York. This work is now touring Australia. This project is supported by The Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, First People Disability Network, Outback Academy, Fred Hollows Foundation, Outback Academy Red Dust Heelers, KPMG, Veolia, Simpsons Solicitors and Primary Communication
Outing Disability showcases photographic portraits with individuals’ stories of coming out, transitioning, dating, and finding acceptance in a world that often makes invisible, the sexuality of people with disability. This exhibition is supported by Family Planning NSW, who continue to use this work as an education tool to create community engagement. Developed in collaboration with internationally acclaimed photographer, Belinda Mason, Outing Disability is an intimate portrait series which takes the viewer on a journey into the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people with disability. Outing Disability premiered at the Sydney Mardi Gras in February 2014 and went on to be exhibited at the Newcastle Regional Library in New South Wales in May 2015. The exhibition was shown at The Substation as part of the celebrations of International Day of People Disability in December 2015 with support of the Hobsons Bay Council. In January 2016 the exhibition is a part of the Melbourne Midsumma Festival and will be exhibited at the Footscray Library with the support of the Maribyrnong City Council. The work is available for future exhibitions.
The Serving Country exhibition, by Belinda Mason and Dieter Knierim, acknowledges and recognises the valuable contribution by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women have made to Australian Defence Service. The portraits, created during the Redfern Coloured Diggers March in April 2014, were first displayed as a part of 2014 VIVID Festival Wartime Legends light show at Sydney University. During 2014 NAIDOC, Western Sydney University exhibited 20 of the portraits which were printed on 60cm x 40cm brushed steel panels. In conjunction with the 2015 ANZAC Celebrations Penrith Regional Gallery featured the works as part of their exhibition’Home/Front. During 2015 NAIDOC week, with the assistance of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the portraits were exhibited at the Headquarters of the Department of Defence in Canberra. To coincide with 2014 Remembrance Day, the portraits were exhibited at Currumbin RLS Club. The works returned to Western Sydney University in late 2015 till early 2016 as part their exhibition ‘Remembering H.A.C’ In April 2016 the work was displayed as part of the Sydney HEAD ON Photography Festival, and was launched in conjunction with the Coloured Diggers March at the Redfern Community Centre. This work now has over 100 participants from across Australia and is available for display.
For 14 years Belinda Mason’s first exhibition Intimate Encounters, which explores sexuality and disability, toured to every metropolitan and key regional city throughout Australia – 32 venues from 2001 to 2007 and to nine international cities from 2002 to 2014 . It is held in 6 institutions around the world including The Museum of Sex in New York and ShapeArts in London. This exhibition was supported by Accessible Arts Australia and Visions of Australia.
Black on White
Images from her Yolgnu on Balanda (Black on White) series won her the 2008 Human Rights Award for Photography. The original exhibition was shown at the Perth Centre of Photography in 2009, Albury Library & Museum in 2010 and Galeria Zero in Barcelona, Spain in 2011. This series expanded and documented the remarkable and insightful voices of 200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their opinions of white culture.The completed project was exhibited at the State Library of NSW in 2013, as part of the hEAD ON Photography Festival, before being donated to the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in Canberra in 2014.
In 2013, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre commissioned this work, as part of a broad Women In Sport initiative which examines the complex issues relating to women and sport through an arts and cultural lens. The work was also shown at the University of Western Sydney in conjunction with the celebrations for the 2015 International Women’s Day. These women are diverse and extraordinary because of their lives outside of sport. They are all strong and fragile, which is the thread that links womanhood. Their fears and insecurities are the foundations that have empowered their passions, and, in turn, give rise for them to experience larger and richer lives.The women as a group represent the diversity of experiences of sport across cultural boundaries and societal expectations, each of these women has broken unwritten rules to play their sport and follow a passion that has broadened their lives outside of sport. This exhibition has expanded and is still growing incorporating over 16 women. Please contact me if you would like to participate in this project. Two images from this series are held at the Australian Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. They have been a part of an exhibition at the Los Angeles Centre for Digital Art (LACDA) The Toyota Community Spirit Award, Conversations on the Cusp of Change, The Art of Photography Show CA.
Becoming Woman is an exhibition by Belinda Mason that follows the journey of Paula Kaye, who has chosen to challenge stereotypes and popular misconceptions of the transsexual woman. The work was created in conjunction with an SBS documentary in 2004 and was exhibited at the Casula Powerhouse, Sydney.
Only A Man
Belinda Mason’s 2006 series Only a Man examines the role of men as society’s disposable commodity. This exhibition is a forum for men who rarely feel able to freely express their vulnerability and emotional needs, and who feel dis-empowered by societal expectations. Launched at the Seymour Centre in Sydney in 2006 it visitedGrafton Regional Gallery,NSW and received an Honorary Mention in the 2002 Josephine Urlich Photography Award.
One Life is a multi-media exhibition which provides an insight into the violence and discrimination that women can encounter on their road to rebuilding their lives after. The project journeys through the lives of women, chronicling their experience one minute before they’re released from prison, one hour afterwards, and then a day, a week, a month and a year after their release. These women are mothers, sisters, daughters, wives and friends. They’re not just labelled by the occurrence that led them into prison, nor should they forever be defined by their experience within our justice system. At the end of the day, prisoners don’t stay in prison. Once released, they could become your neighbours, work colleagues and perhaps, even your friend. So why not take this opportunity to get to know them a little better. Women who are actively committed to creating change in the lives of these women after their release have also collaborated to participate in this project. These women are advocates, police officers, lawyers, chaplains, psychologists and correctional services personnel. Their participation gives an insight those who work as advocates for empowering and improving the outcomes and human rights for these women. One Life has six parts; interviews with the women, 3D style portraits of the women, quotes from their lived experience, photography by the participants of their precious items and their meanings in audio, app for people with sensory, cognitive, and learning impairments plus this website.
This exhibition acknowledges the lives of our Forgotten Australians. An estimated 500,000 children who experienced care in institutions or outside a home setting in Australia during the 20th century. This term was coined in the reporting of the Australian Senate in its 2003–2004 “Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care”. Many of these children suffered from neglect and were abused while in care. and as survivors still suffer the effects throughout their adult lives. Their partners, children extended families work colleagues and friends have also felt the impact, which can then flow through to future generations. In 2009 an official Australian government apology was made to people who had grown up in the institutional system, including former child migrants to Australia. The apology was made by the then Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. On 12 November 2012 the then Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, announced that she would recommend to the Governor-General that a Royal Commission be appointed to inquire into institutional responses to child abuse. On 15 December 2017 the Royal Commission presented a final report to the Governor-General, detailing the culmination of a five year inquiry into institutional responses to child sexual abuse and related matters.
Explores love across cultural divides
Sense of Self
The participants from this collection of images entitle “Sense of Self” have experienced life-changing events that have moulded and strengthen their internal identity. These diverse stories confront us through their honestly and intimacy. I am often asked how I find these people, sometimes I think they just find me. We happen upon one another in often most unexpected ways.
Beyond the Burn
The photographic essay Beyond the Burn, did just that. Skin is our largest organ. It protects us from the outside and gives us identity through complexion and form. We breathe through it. We feel through it. We sense through it. We experience comfort and love through it. The immediate attention of the trauma associated with burns is addressed in the media with the intensity of the acute event itself. What is easily forgotten is that burns alter an individual’s life forever and the journey of a burn survivor is a life long one. The image of burn survivor Ramesh was awarded the 2008 IRIS Award and also the 2008 Kodak Salon Award.
Shade of Grey
Gender is not black or white, but many shades of grey. Belinda Mason and Dieter Knierim through this exhibition explore the diversity of experience of both gender and sexuality.
Belinda Mason has collaborated with Dieter Knierim and Denise Beckwith to create the multi-media exhibition Last Rights, which asks the question of those who holds the power to give or take a life. This is a work in progress and potential participants are welcome to submit an expression of interest.
Belinda Mason has collaborated with Dieter Knierim and Denise Beckwith to create the multi media series Fertile Ground, which explores the rights of the child. This is a work in progress and potential participants are welcome to submit an expression of interest.
Eye 2 Eye
The images are all 3D holographic‚ lenticular portraits of Australian Documentary Photographers. The work is a testament to those photographers who have had an impact on Australian Documentary Photography. Participants to date include, Stephen Dupont, Tamara Dean, Tim Page, Merv Bishop, Claire Martin, William Yang, Robert McFarlane, Tony Mott , David Dare and Nigel Brennan. I enjoy the process of discovering a person and translating not their physicality, but their inner self into an image. It is not their story or images that inspires me, but the way in which they tell it, how much they are prepared to expose their own frailty in revealing the person behind the images that we all know. The work is yet to be completed and I welcome the opportunity to work with a curator to create a body of work that presents a cross section of Australian photographic talent. It presents the opportunity to showcase photographers themselves, whose faces we don’t always recognise, although their images are etched forever in our memories.
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