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Review of ‘Human First?’ by Raphael ‘The Beurologist’ Kaleb

To me Human First suggests connecting to others in the community.

Raphael Kaleb and Gular Altanbus

I would like to thank Güler Altunbas for using her creativity to share the space with other artists that are underrepresented in the community engaging with the community.


During Güler’s speech, she posed a question. “What was the message or messages did you take-away from the video interviews with the artist? Discuss this with a person you haven’t met before.”


To me ‘Human First?’ suggests connecting to others in the community. The question Güler posed references this. We are human first – that we are interconnected with others. There are no strangers here only friends we haven’t met.


With Covid 19, Social Distancing and Lockdowns – how do we go about reconnecting with loved ones, friends and the general community. Because Güler utilised a variety of ways, ie. Drawing/Painting with a QR Code and Video (has subtitles) — people have ways to receive their own message from the artist in a meaningful way.


During the exhibition, a number of people approached me. All of them asked the same question. ” How did I find the experience of sitting for the portrait and the video interview?”


Personally, I was very flattered Güler considered asking me. Thank you to Heidi Everett for suggesting me. I consider it an honour that I was a small part of an Art Exhibition that was driven by the Driven Community and led by the Disability Community that incorporated principles around Access and Inclusion in the wider community.


Looking around the portraits, I could hear some of the artists sharing their wisdom and experiences with me from over a number of years. Sandy Jeffs OAM author of Out of The Madhouse, Larissa MacFarlane with her vision for the Mural Disability Pride, Heidi Everett starting Schizy Inc, Mojo Film Festival and Mental Health, Chelle Destefano – educating others about Deaf Culture, naming a few. All of the them using their artistic talents connecting to others in the community. Human first.


I connected to another artist, Bon, who is another portrait. Learned more about their story and their experiences. We had some friendly banter.


For the members of the public who told me what my portrait represented and meant to them – Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Every person I spoke with said they really liked what Güler has done.


A few people asked if they could photograph me standing next to the portrait. Glad it’s a memory that you were comfortable to connect with me.


My final thoughts on the night. It is a privilege that Güler asked me if I would I like to be involved with her exhibition. Artists from underrepresented communities such as Disability, First Nations/People of Colour, Deaf/Hard of Hearing and LGBITQA+ do need platforms so others in the community can connect with them.


I can still hear the creative, artistic wisdom advice and words from Rachel Gadsden a few years ago. Art needs to connect through themes that are common to both underrepresented communities and mainstream communities engaging with everyone.


‘Human First?’ by Güler Altanbus does that.


Written by Raphael ‘ The Beurologist’ Kaleb


Güler Altunbas

Güler Altunbas is Kurdish born, and has lived most of her life in Melbourne. She is a visual artist and art teacher. Güler creates art in many media forms: painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking and digital. Her focus on human...

Guler Altunbas