Aleshia Lonsdale was looking for a challenge so when the Orana Arts Left Field project put out a call for artists she jumped at the chance to broaden her practice from painting and weaving.

Deliberately deciding to do something she’d never done before Aleshia ventured into installation work and hasn’t looked back. “It has given me more confidence and enabled me to say things that I didn't feel I could do with painting on canvas. With the type of work I'm doing now, I can talk about issues and impact on community and people and place a lot easier than I could've just on a canvas.”

The Left Field program connected a group of established contemporary Aboriginal artists and emerging artists with the aim of building confidence and exploring their practice individually and collectively. “Guest mentors came in and that was good because we got to work with different people and bounce ideas off different people and get their feedback, their views. None of us are looking at it like we're just the mentees and our work is any less valuable – we’re all there on a level playing field,” says Aleshia.

That level playing field continued with the group being set the theme for the exhibition Faith.  Being a woman who loves a challenge, Aleshia enjoyed having a theme and a deadline and creating her work “Then let us work together” in response. “When we got the theme I didn't just want to do a work that was just about one person because for me, with any of our movements across our history it hasn't been just one person that's making this change or making this happen so I wanted to do a work that sort of talked about that,” says Aleshia. “It's an installation which has ropes bound together in grasses – it’s talking about our grassroots movements have come from the ground up and it's been from people, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal and others working together. I guess you do have your leaders that inspire and give faith and hope to other people but it's that collective thing, like the Freedom Rides or the Day of Mourning or the '67 Referendum, those things wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for people coming together and working together for that common goal.”

Faith continues until 19 November and features work from The Left Field Collective artists Colin Brooks Jnr, Lachlan Goolagong, Aleshia Londsdale, Paris Norton and Alex Nixon and mentor artists Blak Doulgas, Karla Dickens, Nicole Monks, Chico Monks and Jason Wing.

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