Local artists light up Gertrude Street for the Gertrude Street Projection Festival

Fitzroy’s Gertrude Street will be lit up for the rest of the month by a living street art display being put on by the Gertrude Street Projection Festival (GSPF).

The GSPF is on display from 6 pm until midnight every evening until the end of July, with a series of immersive and interactive light projection installations.

50 local artists will cover over 38 sites along the length of Gertrude Street with their bright and colourful installations.

Photo: GSPF

The theme this year is Unfurling Futures, and festival director Nicky Pastore said it aims to explore multiple possible futures for a world that is undergoing rapid change.

The event is celebrating its tenth year running, and Pastore said that when the festival began projection was an up and coming art form which had possibilities for street art that other modalities didn’t.

“The temporary nature of the projection art form allows us to transform the landscape in non-destructive and beautifully creative ways. Whether it’s large scale projection that washes over the facade of a building or an intimate projection that guides the viewer to a particular location, projection allows artists to play with space and time,” she said.

Visitors can walk along Gertrude Street and take in the different exhibitions, which can feel surreal against the urban canvas they are projected onto.

Jody Haines and Susan Marco Forrester, Together with Mask. Photo: GSPF.

One aim of the festival is to give newer artists a chance to display their work. Many of them have not worked with projection before, and the festival is a chance for them to explore a new modality and develop their skills.

The GSPF actively encourages participation from newer artists through collaborations with neighbourhood groups and through mentoring programs.

“In 2015 we started the GSPF Mentorship Program, which supports emerging artists to create unique, site specific artworks for the festival with the guidance of industry professionals,” said Pastore.

One group they collaborate with is the Yarra Youth Services, whose younger artists get the chance to exhibit their work. Other groups include The Melbourne Aboriginal Youth Sport and Recreation Centre (MAYSAR), who opened a new boxing gym on the festival’s opening night and are presenting an installation that highlights the achievements of world-champion boxer Lionel Rose.

“Our intention as a festival is to feature local organisations and groups, which can often go unnoticed by the general public. MAYSAR is located right in the heart of Gertrude Street and we have worked with them over the years on festival events that celebrate and reflect on the rich indigenous history of the area,” said Pastore.

“Fitzroy is such a diverse neighbourhood, and as a festival we are very passionate about including artworks and stories that highlight the local community.”

If you’d like to check out the festival and show your support of local artists, you can find more information here. Entry into the festival is free.

Written  by JessieAnne Gartlan

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