Melbourne artist teams up with national welfare organisation for Anti-Poverty Week

03 October 2017

For Anti-Poverty Week the Brotherhood of St Laurence national welfare organisation has released a limited edition tote bag, featuring a striking illustration by award-winning Melbourne artist Michael Fikaris.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence is a national co-sponsor of Anti-Poverty Week, 15-21 October.

“Poverty affects us all in some way – directly, or through a family member, friend or neighbour, or in the streets of our community. I’m excited to be part of the effort to shed light on the widening divide between the haves and have-nots,” Fikaris says.

Fikaris has generously contributed an illustration from his latest series, ‘End Points’, featuring two figures wearing gas masks to symbolise the struggle many people have to 'breathe easy' in society – a motif Fikaris has used in much of his art. He works with a range of media including comics, zines, murals and paintings, and is part of the community based collective, Silent Army.

Brotherhood head Tony Nicholson says since 1930, the Brotherhood has worked with others towards achieving an Australia free of poverty.

“We have always reached out to the community about the importance of alleviating and preventing poverty,” he said.

“In the 1940s our founder Gerard Tucker reached out by commissioning films about the plight of people living in Melbourne’s slums. Today the powerful imagery on these tote bags helps to spread the message that together we can make changes to help disadvantaged people build better lives.”

The tote bag is $20 or $27.50 with postage and available for purchase online. Proceeds from sales will be used for Brotherhood programs and services which support disadvantaged and marginalised people, including young people seeking work, people with disability and refugees.

During Anti-Poverty Week all Australians are encouraged to organise or take part in an activity to highlight or overcome issues of poverty and hardship in Australia or overseas.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) acknowledges and understands its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with respect and care, and to be safe from all forms of abuse. BSL has a zero tolerance towards child abuse.
Read the official statement signed by the Executive Director.

The Brotherhood recognises the harm that family violence causes and that freedom from violence is a basic human right.
We will support our staff, volunteers, clients and the community if they experience violence.

Find out more about the work of the Brotherhood
Australian Aboriginal flag, a yellow circle on two horizontal black and red stripes

The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.

Torres Strait Islander flag, an icon of a traditional headdress on blue, black and green stripes