RAINBOW CHAN: Diasporic pop sensibility

Our current social climate has changed dramatically in the last few years with indigenous and multinational artists using their work to insight cultural pride, representation and conversation.

Rainbow Chan is one such artist whose musical aesthetic embraces both the retro typography and pop-sensibility of Hong Kong while defining herself as a diasporic global citizen. Her narrative draws from her life experience and pushes against the conservative mainstream Australian media that continues to represent Australia as a white majority nation.

BASIL: I am proud

During our second live panel event, we were floored by the presence of a young man called Basil who posed the question 'How can I show that I am a proud African?' to our panel.

Since that time it seems as if that question has been challenged with media outlets drawing negative stereotypes of African-Australians and into the narrative of the press.

So, it's quite apt at this time that we turn to the next generations of Australians who seem to be more "woke" than we were at their age to find out what it's like to be figuring out your identity, right now in Australia, during your formative years.

KAMNA MUDDAGOUNI: My unhomogenised identity

Communication is key to the many interests of Kamna Muddagouni. Yet, she is not defined by one single identity.

From childhood to her adult life, Kamna has always felt comfortable in the corporate and creative worlds, whether that is working as a lawyer, communications adviser, writer or podcaster, exploring the many crossroads of her identity. 

Along with friend Brodie Lancaster, Kamna launched Can U Not? in 2016, a podcast that explores their love of pop culture and inter-sectional feminism.

SHAAD D'SOUZA: Pop culture rationalist

Shaad D'Souza is a free-lance writer and critique of the pop culture world.

Never afraid of calling out the lack of intersectional diversity in Australian entertainment, D'Souza's writing enhances the experience of us (the audience) demonstrating the importance of artistic merit as a reaction to the social and political events of the world.

COLIN PETERS: Figuring it out

Colin Peters is a second-generation Australian and writer figuring out what it means to be Australian. 

Peters grew up in a time shadowed by the dismantling of the White Australia Policy, and when questions about cultural identity and allegiance were at a high. 

Now as a husband and proud father-of-three he is navigating these questions from a new perspective. 

LEISHA JUNGALWALLA: Removing the facade

Leisha Jungalwalla grew up in country Victoria in a small town at the junction of two highways. In many respects it was a typical Australian town, with a gendered and passionate focus on football and netball.

Jungalwalla went against the grain and took to AFL instead of netball. As a young woman of Indian and Anglo-Australian heritage, she challenged the status quo in more ways than one.

Now as an adult and musician in band This Way North, Jungalwalla is working to challenge the status quo again and would like to see a change in how women are received in the music business. Throughout February Jungalwalla will host a music event in Melbourne called Sass the Patriarchy.

EMILY WURRAMARA: Who I Am

Emily Wurramara is creating music that reflects the many cultural heritages she has come from. 

In her debut EP Black Smoke, Wurramarra effortlessly fuses sounds representative of her upbringing and cultural heritage to create tracks in both English and Anindilyakwa [the traditional language of her home on Groote Eylandt, NT]. The tracks are expressive, sentimental and speak of a woman who is proud of who she is and where she has come from.

Wurramara has taken her music around the world, with shows and festival appearances in Sweden and France, and is one to watch in 2017.

NINA HAMILTON: Heart and home

Nina Hamilton captures life one photograph at a time - from her travels abroad, to her life in Uganda, and now as a solo mama to her African-Australian son, William. Nina’s photographs are often up close and personal, a quality in her work she attributes to having had the opportunity to hone her skills in countries where people offered themselves honestly and openly.

The Pin sat down with Nina to discuss what inspires her and what she hopes for as the mother of a biracial child growing up Tasmania, Australia.

JOE MIRANDA: A Matter of Perception

Leaving school early and starting work at a young age, Joe Miranda fully embodies the 'Just Do It' attitude of a person with constant vision.

Inspired by the people, places and structureS that surround him in contemporary society, the London-born photography hobbyist is far from complacent.

From cafe culture to curation Joe Miranda can be found everywhere.

JO DUNLOP: Different perspectives

In 2011 Australian Jo Dunlop moved to Freetown, Sierra Leone to work in maternal health. 

During her time in the country Jo developed an appreciation for street fashion in Sierra Leone, a country better known for civil war, blood diamonds and Ebola. Jo was inspired by what she saw to show a different side of the story and created Fashpack: Freetown, a street style doco featuring everyday people rocking their finest on the daily. 

We sat down with Jo Dunlop to discuss her experience of living abroad, and her return to Australia.

EUGENIA FLYNN: Sense and sensibility

When it comes to the art and community groups Eugenia Flynn is everywhere. Identifying as Aboriginal, Chinese Malaysian and Muslim Eugenia can be found on the board Blak Dot Gallery and Peril Magazine, the committee of Women in the Literary Arts Australia & volunteering for RISE Refugees Survivors and Ex-Detainees. She is also the current CEO of The Social Studio in Collingwood, Melbourne.

When she is not doing all this she is bring another "Australian" narrative to our media through Crikey, The Guardian Australia, The Conversation Australia, Peril Magazine, VICE Magazine, HYSTERIA (UK), Overland, The Lifted Brow, NITV, IndigenousX, and The Victorian Writer.

Taking some time out from her Master's degree (yes, there's more!) Eugenia Flynn caught up with The Pin.

SHEWIT BELAY: Know your roots

Shewit Belay is a quiet achiever, with great ambitions that seem all too achievable for a person of her calibre. 

Hailing from Eritrea, Shewit moved to Tasmania at the age of five and quickly adapted to life in a small town with an even smaller African population. Shewit took difference in her stride, and explored her roots through performance and poetry. 

Now studying medicine, Shewit is deft with time - carefully dividing her life between a passion for music and her university studies. I met with Shewit in a cafe in Hobart and was instantly struck by the calm perseverance and warm nature of a talented young person with big things on their horizon. 

SUZAN DLOUHY: Simple choas

The pressure of being the first in our families to have opportunities for further education can some times stump out our true desires and creative lifelong pursuits of happiness. 

For Suzan Dlouhy creativity, design and fashion have always been a part of who she is but, it took a boring government job, crazy dress up Monday's and hunting down amazing street style in Canberra for her true passion to be realised.

Starting her own label SZN, Dlouhy has continued to make her mark in design - from hand stitching 100 scarves for the National Multicultural Festival in Canberra to taking out Fashion Designer of the Year at the African Australians of the Year Award Ceremony. Before moving to Melbourne for love, teaching at The Social Studioand continuing to build her own brand.

MADELINE WELLS: Visibility is key

For Madeline Wells’ identity is an unquestionable strength that runs proudly through the lineage of her family and intertwines with her connection to country. Growing up in Tasmania, Wells has faced many challenges and stereotypes of what it means to be Indigenous in Australia.

As a strong, youthful, leader and advocate for social change in her community and the country, Wells has a specific interest in the rights of First Nation People, especially young Indigenous Australians living in smaller local communities.

In addition to the many accolades for her work, last year Wells was selected to attend the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law in Geneva; discussing ‘Widening the Democratic Space: the role of youth in public decision-making’. Back in her hometown, Wells continous to work with her community and provide an affirming representation of proud Aboriginal woman.

AFRIKA SPEAKS BACK: Words have power

What do you do when your history is written by someone else, and you are made out to be the villain of your own story?

The Pin was invited to attend Afrika Speaks Back at the newly opened Afro Hub for Africa Day.

Curated and hosted by Sista Zai Zanda (Pan Afrikan Poets Cafe), Afrika Speaks Back brought forth young and talented artists who, by way of expression, created a broadened sense of identity as they performed works that touched on a variety of subjects, punctuated by musical performances (that raised the roof!).

What’s really important about Afrika Speaks Back is that regardless of the day that it falls on, it gives a voice to Afro-diaspora and Indigenous people. Both Afro-diaspora and Indigenous people share written histories that have been authored by the explorers that colonised their ancestral land and diminished their societies - finding power in words Afrika Speaks Back aimed to set the record straight and the stories too.

JONATHAN STIER aka ESKATOLOGY: You Will Overcome

Brought up by his Indigenous nana and non-Indigenous pop, Jonathan Stier has always had an understanding of his ties to country and a sense of pride in his identity. Jonathan Stier is a rapper that found his solace through music and 90s rap, it is through music that he overcame a lot of demons and became Eskatology

Relating to both sides of the bloodline Eskatology finds his voice through music, aiming to inspire people to overcome their demons whether they be substance abuse or ignorance.

TRUE VIBENATION: A Proud Difference

It's an exciting time to be alive as more and more diverse voices are finding their way on to our TV's, radio's, stages and online platforms around Australia. On such act that is bringing the hype to a city near you is True Vibenation - a combination of hip hop, horns and conscious afro-beat.

Against the backdrop of white Australian mainstream media and black American conscious hip-hop, twin brothers Vuli & Bheki (aka Moody), along with their friend Klue clasp difference like a badge of honour, constantly growing and redefining what is means to be present, proud, gifted and black.