A chance meeting at an Indigenous business event in 2017 forged a formidable and fruitful partnership between Troy Casey and Amanda Hayman.
Not only did the couple connect personally, but professionally, establishing Blaklash Projects to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture through creative events and projects.
“We realised that together we have a pretty unique skill set: project management and business acumen combined with a shared love and passion for all things creative arts,” Troy, a former journalist and government adviser, said.
“At the core of Blaklash was a question: how do we use arts to bring people together in a conversation about current issues and give them a better opportunity to connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture?”
Aiding these connections is a willingness across all sectors of Brisbane’s creative and artistic community to “share the love”.
“Brisbane is more about collaboration than competition,” Logan-raised contemporary artist Amanda said.
“There is a greater understanding that if we use each other’s expertise to build each other up we’ll achieve more, we’ll innovate and we’ll create more platforms for connecting the community with the amazing art, culture and stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives.”
The duo said their creativity and interest has been sparked by a renewed commitment by Brisbane Festival to First Nations programming.
In 2019, Blaklash curated and presented Connecting with Local Stories, a series of conversations with community members, and Evening Lights, an installation fusing art, poetry, talks and walking tours.
“Brisbane Festival is a great time in Brisbane, there’s so much happening and so many diverse options for everyone,” Amanda said.
“There seems to be a feeling in the air that Brisbane Festival is shifting towards becoming more about Brisbane artists and creatives, driving the creation and development of new, local works. It’s an exciting time,” Troy added.