No Shame Day; Interview with Nick Lupi

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We catch up with Nick Lupi, Beyond Empathy artist and mentor and part of the well-known Australian Hip Hop group Spit Syndicate. Nick is working with local emerging artists and young people in the lead up to No Shame Day. Nick will talk us through what is happening at Beyond Empathy and how the arts can make a difference in our community.

Tell us about No Shame Day?

No Shame Day is an opportunity for local young people to step out in a public arena and take pride in themselves, their culture, town and talents. It’s an open mic style event in one of the central plaza’s in Armidale where young people are invited to do away with the idea of ‘shame’ in putting yourself out there, to perform or showcase creative works. On Friday 11th December, December, Beyond Empathy (BE) will host the fourth No Shame Day event – it’ll be the second year I’ve been involved.

The event has grown to become a community cultural event that gives everyone a chance to shine!  It is a day to overcome personal, mental and emotional barriers and be proud of who we are and what we can do.

This year, professional and emerging artists are working in schools and community leading workshops in drumming, dance, hip hop, song-writing, fire twirling / poi and street art. Young people develop creative skills as well as personal skills like confidence and resilience.

The created works will be showcased at the No Shame Day event to be held in the Mall at 4pm on 11 December. It’s a great vibe, there’s a sense of community and people enjoying themselves which is a beautiful thing. We look forward to the community turning out to support these amazing young people, as the free barbecue sizzles.

Is No Shame Day all about young people?

No Shame Day is a showcase of work created by young people, but also others in the community.

This year’s event will include performances by BE’s multicultural community drumming group and community choir Bhing Nomb’n. Those groups meet each Saturday morning at Kent House and bring people together in a fun and creative environment.

Well-known musicians David Leha (Radical Son) and Anthony Green (Terra Firma) have been working with Aboriginal families in the community as part of their Harmonies project. Family stories will be shared with the community through song as part of this year’s No Shame Day.

The event will also feature other performances from the community. It is open to everyone!

How does Beyond Empathy work with the community?

BE uses art to influence change. The community arts and cultural development organisation creates arts projects that aim to give some of the more disadvantaged people in our community opportunities to participate in and create art – and develop skills that we all need like confidence, reliance, self-worth and self-knowledge. BE aims to generate new connections and opportunities that over-ride disadvantage.

Projects like No Shame Day bring artists, young people and the community together in a positive and creative environment – and we all get to see just what amazing talent is right here!

Nick, many of us know you as a well-known Australian hip hop artist and part of the group Spit Syndicate, in your role at Beyond Empathy what have you been doing in community?

Working in Armidale for the past 12 months has been an incredible experience for me; I’ve been working with and mentoring two local hip hop artists, Nate Weatherall (Koorified) and Liana Simmons (Sneaky El), as we’ve been running hip hop workshops with the very talented young people of Armidale.

Nate, Liana and I collaborate in the development of new creative work – with a focus on their professional development. Together, we have been working with young people in schools and community, working with them to use hip hop, poetry and performance to express themselves and tell their stories.

This project is a part of Beyond Empathy’s Maven project, which brings professional and emerging artists together with young people – creating a space for the sharing of knowledge and skills, up and down. The Maven project is establishing a creative hub which offers arts education and employment opportunities.

In the week leading up to No Shame Day, there will be intensive school and community workshops led by professional and emerging artists including singer/songwriters David Leha (Radical Son), Ant Green and Matt Griffin (Terra Firma), Dancers Brad Harrison (Bboy Yogi), Carmel Vale and Steve Quinlan, fire and poi artist Brodie Loren and drummer Kai Tipping. The other members of Spit Syndicate, Jimmy Nice and Joyride (Rowan Dix) will be working with Nate, Liana and myself to run a series of hip hop workshops.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the time I’ve spent in Armidale and this week will be no different, ending with an incredible performance in the Mall!

Thanks Nick.

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