If you have had the chance of gracing Art Party (AP) with your presence, you would know what an amazing night you are in for. Last month’s AP was a special one, not only was there diverse and interactive performances, it was dedicated to the memory of Becky who signed her life in sunshine.

On the 29th of May, AP was in celebration and remembrance of an amazing women. ‘AP is dedicated in loving memory of Becky Stone, the sole-sunshine walker, the beating heart of this community and the passion behind our hugs,’ Jessie Ray said.

Walking into the studio, the audience were greeting by a large colourful circus tent and an incredible woman who was oozing happiness and smiles through every pore. Flutter Lyon commanded attention in the nicest way, by getting the audience to throw confetti.

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Flutter Lyon has a passion for storytelling and journeys, this has led her to create the reflective legacy campaign, a pilot project for palliative care patients at Liverpool Hospital.

‘I am doing pressing sessions, so I am running international art project called 500 lives and I am pressing the life stories of 500 people in the next year. Tonight we are just doing mini sessions, just minutes, so it’s just one story, one of the life stories of the people. And it’s a story of joy tonight. And I will illustrate a line work that represents a story that they are telling me, and they will take it away with an envelope filled with confetti,’ Flutter Lyon said.

Before AP got underway for another month and the incomparable Jessie Ray took to the stage. The audience had the chance to participate in a hula hooping workshop hosted by two amazing women, Shiho and Bella Fuego.

It was time, Jessie’s smile brightened up the studio, that was already lit up with LCD fairy lights, you could feel the warmth and the love that comes off of her while talking about AP and introducing each performer.

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Max Quinn – Singer/songwriter

Max was first up and he set the tone of the night perfectly, connecting with the audience and making them laugh. For those who were at AP for the first time, he was the perfect greeting. Conversing with the audience making them feel as though they were there at the moment when he wrote the songs he sang, there was a familiarity about him.

Max sang songs from his bands album and some new songs that he had written. He sang of his love for his girlfriend, he sang of unemployment and the fear if going back to that state of being. He encouraged the audience to sing along.

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Ahmad El-Rady – Spoken Word Poet

Ahmad is the co-creator of the Bankstown Poetry Slam that generates almost 300 people each show. He is well known around poetry circles for his emotional truths, the power behind his words, his ability to evoke emotions within the listener and his endearing humour.

He spoke about the human condition and our desensitisation towards homelessness. He brought the audience to tears when he spoke about his grandmother and his love for her and through memory he got to know her strengths and the hardships she had endured. The audience couldn’t get enough as he spoke about his love of Istanbul, transforming it into a metaphor of a beautiful women. Finally, Ahmad spoke about love, about all that he would be to a woman, ending his set perfectly.

AP’s beam of sunshine, Jessie introduced a tradition that the late Becky used to do when she was having a bad day. The audience painted the soles of their shoes with yellow paint, Becky’s favourite colour, the audience walked on sunshine in her memory.

‘Sydney is a series of villages, no one gets to know other people. The next tradition, the Rocking Om Hugs, allows you to connect with people who are not part of our groups or cliques. AP is all about connecting,’ Jessie said.

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Bronsai Watkins –  Singer/Songwriter

Bronsai was greeted to the stage with cheers from fans who know her personally and her music. She started off by talking about the destruction of the earth and how more needs to be done to care for it and started her set with a song dedicated to the earth, ‘Oxygen Catastrophe’.

There was a vulnerability to her voice, almost delicate. She sang of the heartache of losing a friend after a break-up. She sang a song that she wrote for AP, this got the audience clapping and dancing and singing along.

‘Love always I think inspires my creativity and life as well, I mean love is really where it’s at and music itself it’s just its own force. When I sit down with my guitar it’s like a mediation or something, I kind of let whatever needs to come through me, come through me,’ Bronsai said.

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Shiho – Fire Hooping

Shiho was amazing to watch, her mastery of all things hoops is commendable and going by the cheers and the applause she received from the audience, they also agreed. Her transition from one hoop to two and three was effortless, never losing momentum as she spun the hoops using different parts of her body.

Setting the fire hoop alight, captivated the audience, entranced by Shiho a true performer, as she spun the hoop around her body and neck. It was clear that Shiho loved to entertain and loved mesmerising the audience right down to the very last flame, which she extinguished with her mouth.

‘Hula Hooping is very interesting art because it can be performance art, it can be exercise and sport and it can also be dance. I was fascinated. I like to connect with music and connect with people,’ Shiho said.

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Yum Yum – Soul/Funk Electronica

A beautiful fusion of soul, dup, hip hop and delta blues, Yum Yum is what one would describe as ordinary that led to the extraordinary. The audience of AP were witness to this moment of greatness as they got up off the ground, cushions and bean bags and danced this entire set.

The singer, Natalie Slade has a very distinctive husky tone and a wide vocal range, you could feel the power of her voice that worked perfectly with the beats that Jayo James laid down. Slade’s voice is beyond astounding, it has the ability to transport the listener. Just close your eyes and you could find yourself in places you have never been to before.

‘For me, collaboration is important, I totally thrive on it, and I sort of feel like I only have one limb and then with other people you get your other limbs, so that helps,’ Natalie said.

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Brave Child – Burlesque

Bravo Child’s jaw dropping performance was full of emotion and honesty, it was brutal and vulnerable. It was simply beautiful. One of those moments that can only be witnessed if you were present at AP. His performance was dedicated to ‘the bringer of laughter and reminder of sky’ Becky Stone. His performance was called, ‘Sunshine Unbind me’.

There was a desperation to his performance, of love lost and pain as a result, there was grief and the letting go of that grief was palpable. He was later joined on stage by Ali Crane. There was a sensuality about them, a familiarity and love, as she wrapped herself around him. There was peacefulness and calm, there was a lot of love felt in the room and the audience could feel it. There was hope and light. The power of this performance brought the audience to tears.

‘I’m inspired by trying to be authentic, trying to tear down all the inhibition, all the stops, all the socially implied or enforced connotations that we are not, it is not okay to be human, there are many characteristic that we as human beings have that we hide. Say something that matters, be real, connect, disregard all of your prejudiced, all of your pre-planned schedules, direction and priorities and arrive here and actually engage,’ Bravo said.

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Anatole – Organic Electronic

Jonathan Baker ends AP for another month with his set that did not disappoint and got the audience dancing right till the very end. Watching him on stage, mixing and creating beats was utterly spectacular, making it very clear that is great at what he does.

Explaining in words what Jonathan did, I am afraid would not do him any justice. It is something that has to be seen live. What I will say is that it was beautifully remarkable. There was an energy felt around the room that fascinated the audience. Ending AP on such a high note.

‘I think from what just happened there, I am inspired by the reaction and the connection and just generating a vibe, I am beaming right now. I think that’s what I want, I want that feeling and I want that energy that’s created in the moment that you can’t get anywhere else,’ Jonathan said.

For event queries/advice or to perform, get in contact with Jessie Ray and be welcomed into the AP family.

Art Party would not be possible without these awesome people:

Create or Die – for giving AP a home each month

Snappatronik Photography – for the amazing images

Aviel Peru – The sound man, making sure everything on stage is running perfectly