Atherton Gardens joins Gertrude Street Projection Festival

Magang (middle, second row) and local artists preparing for the festival
08 July 2015
Magang (middle, second row) and local artists preparing for the festival

The Gertrude Street Projection Festival is venturing off the street and on to the Atherton Gardens housing estate for the first time since the festival began eight years ago.

Magang Reech, 20, one of the residents involved in the project on the estate, believes the festival is a great opportunity for people on the estate, especially the young people.

'It’s really great that the festival is on the estate this year and not just on the main part of the road,' Magang said.

'A lot of young people and residents have been involved with the project. Some of the girls are involved with the Uprising Theatre exhibition and have been making the costumes through the Yarra Youth Services.

'It’s a great opportunity because it breaks down the social barriers between young, old and people outside the estate. It also gives the chance for our young people to make connections with their community and it opens their eyes to what’s going on in the community and how they can be involved,' he said.

Magang first became involved in the festival through the estate’s community participation program.

'I’m always in touch with Frankie (the Atherton Gardens community participation worker) and I help out as much as I can on the estate.

'At the moment I’m a familiar face on the estate and a point of contact for residents to let them know about the festival and help them get involved. I’ve also been working with the artists to get the installations up and running,' Magang said.

Originally from South Sudan, Magang has been living at Atherton Gardens for the past seven years. From a young age, he has helped to engage and mentor young people who live on the estate. Now he also volunteers as a tutor with the Brotherhood of St Laurence and runs a soccer program on the Atherton Gardens and Collingwood estates.

When asked why he became involved in volunteering and helping young people, Magang said: 'You don't expect anything from helping, if you can help, you just do it.'

The Gertrude Street Projection Festival runs from 10 to 19 July.

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Image caption: Magang (middle, second row) and local artists preparing for the festival.

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