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Raised Poor Exhibition Turning Struggle Into Art: Open Letter From An Artist

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The Raised Poor exhibition is a collection of work by a bunch of 'bad kids' who haven't let their environment diminish their talent and passion.

Jade Mars is at the helm of the exhibition, aiming to humanise the figures behind labels like 'poor' and 'disenfranchised'. Here, she pens an open letter about the exhibition and the inspirations behind it.

“I am pleased to announce Raised Poor, an exhibition of work by 13 of Adelaide's influential and emerging artists of various types and genres. The exhibition will be open for view at The Henry Austin in Adelaide. The opening night will feature various guest speakers and the night will close with a musical act from local hip hop artists Mnops and Kimence.

Raised Poor is an exhibition showcasing raw untouched talent that has risen from the economic struggle. The artists share their own views and insights into the struggles and successes faced by the raised poor, disenfranchised people who get lost in a system in which the creative arts are deemed a privilege they cannot afford and are encouraged to give up in favour of a marginally stable life. This exhibition is a movement that humanises the figures behind the economic label in an effort to challenge the axioms surrounding a subculture of Australians fighting for a foothold in the world and call for awareness to the initiatives actively helping Adelaide's aspiring youths.

Born into a raised poor environment and growing up in a Housing SA unit in Noarlunga Downs, I had been in and out of job centre appointments, pushing to find anyone who would give me a fair go. I had tried all possible avenues to find work to no luck, with reasons ranging from someone else having more experience and credentials to not being able to hold a plate properly as a server in a restaurant. With no one to support me and living day by day, it was a difficult choice to pursue higher education.

All I had was my art, although I was made to feel foolish for thinking that I could make it work. I wasn't going to beg for minimum wage; I was going to live my life on my own terms, with something that I could put all my heart and soul in. I created this exhibition because there are a lot more young people out there just like me who are struggling, every day being told their art isn't worth anything, but creativity is part of what makes life so amazing and it is something that no one can take away from you. We are survivors and we can make it work.”
– Jade Mars


The Raised Poor exhibition will be held at Percy Court Studio on 8 September.

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