Indonesian-Malaysian multidisciplinary artist Supina Bytol, an advocate for grassroots projects, tells Benjamin Millar she has found “another family” at Footscray Community Arts Centre


What do community arts mean to you?

I think community arts is a good starting place for people; it’s very important for independent artists in Australia. A lot of artists need other people and other artists to work with and interact with to keep going. It’s really important for artists to have other people around them. I feel sometimes institutions can be hard to get involved in, exhibitions and galleries are often connected with institutions unless they are artist-run.


Why is Footscray attractive for artists?

It’s more inspiring because it’s a more diverse community. There is a feeling of comfort and home and being familiar and more confident. I do tend to connect with more of the minority groups and, because of its cultural richness, people can strive in Footscray more, because they can feel comfortable with all of the different cultures around.

What is the best thing about the Footscray Community Arts Centre?

A lot of people at Footscray Arts are very supportive. It’s like a big family.


What was the best thing about being part of FCAC’s emerging cultural leaders program?

I don’t think anywhere in Melbourne has anything like it. It gives you the opportunity to interact with people in the community arts setting in a one-on-one way; it’s a very good opportunity. Barriers got broken down between higher arts sectors and people that run festivals and the community arts. It helped people feel more comfortable in approaching people within the arts centre.


What have been the long-term outcomes?

It connected you with a community and you feel supported in what you were doing. All the people who were participating became our own community. We became good friends and still see each other’s shows … there’s an ongoing connection.


What are you currently working on?

Keeping connected with Indonesian artists through music. Building my own business with homeware design in collaboration with a few designers in Indonesia. I have a gig coming up that is part of a cultural collaboration called Exquisite Corpses. It is on March 20 at the Make It Up Club at Bar Open.


Applications for FCAC’s 2016 emerging cultural leaders program close Friday. Details: