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Birth inspires

new collection

Brisbane-based artist Belinda Kochanowska was going

through what she describes as the equivalent of writer’s

block before her pregnancy led to a manic period of

creativity. Over a period of six months (four in her

pregnancy and two after her daughter was born) she

produced her latest collection of 24 works called

My Flesh

is Your Flesh


The works give an insight to Kochanowska’s own

fascination with science and natural history as well as her

talent for photographic collage. She spent many hours

sourcing 16th, 17th and 18th century images from the public

domain collection of the British Library then digitally

morphed the images as if working with a painter’s palette.

The mix of anatomical, botanical and natural history

illustrations are used to reflect her most personal feelings

during her pregnancy and childbirth, albeit with a high

degree of imagination as an artist.

“There is a lot of fear and politics surrounding pregnancy

and there is a lot of dangerous terrain to cross when

pregnant. There’s immense pressure and judgment facing

women. I think making this work just let me be honest and

release whatever anxiety I was feeling at the time with all

the rhetoric surrounding me,” she says.

While this collection has yet to be shown publicly in

Australia it has been shown at both Photo Contemporary

(alongside works by several other Queensland artists) in

Hollywood and Photo LA, and in the UK, and works also

have been acquired by the Royal College of Obstetricians

and Gynaecologists in the UK.

See more online at


| BNE May/June 2015


of tomorrow

Ten weeks after having massive surgery for a life threatening tumour on

his chest Matt Kershaw, just 19 at the time, was in Tanzania ready to climb

Mount Kilimanjaro. The trip had been planned before his health scare and

Kershaw initially cancelled but later, with a positive prognosis, incredibly,

his surgeon encouraged him to go. The whole experience proved to be a

turning point for Kershaw who now leads the very organisation that had

arranged his trip.

The organisation, which initially began as the brainchild of two

businessmen with a passion to help young people, has been totally

transformed under Kershaw’s leadership as CEO over the last four years.

Now called yLead it is focused on young people teaching young people to

build positive relationships and be active within their communities.

yLead works directly with about 300 schools a year in Queensland

and interstate to deliver workshops to students in upper primary to late

secondary years that are not your average sit down, listen, see a slideshow

or watch a whiteboard experience. Instead they use activities to create

experiences and set challenges that provide lessons in action.

“We firmly believe that if we engage the students in an experience not

only will they enjoy it more but those lessons will be more powerful and

pertinent because they have done it, rather than just heard it or seen it,”

says Kershaw.

Altitude Day, at Brisbane Showgrounds on 26 May, is an opportunity

to bring together hundreds of year 9 students in particular from across

the region to network and hear from inspiring people. This year those

speakers will include Caitlyn Shadbolt, the 19-year-old country singer

from Gympie who made the top five in the last series of


and has

since launched her music career; Chris Raine who, at 23, started Hello

Sunday Morning to challenge young people to change their binge drinking

ways; and Rowie McEvoy, the self-made millionaire and health and fitness

guru, who is the veteran of the speaking line-up but also the most popular,

according to Kershaw.

Altitude Day is the flagship for yLead which also hosts the event in four

more cities in Queensland and five capital cities interstate.

“What we’re really trying to say to these students is ‘you can be a great

leader and here’s how you do it’. It’s about unlocking their potential.”

Kershaw says they want to dispel the myth that leaders come only from

school captains and prefects. “Leadership is something that everyone

engages in because at different points in our lives, every one of us may need

to be a leader in a particular situation, even with friends or with family at

home. Our definition of leadership is not about a badge or a title but it’s

about making the world you touch a better place and asking ‘how can I be a

leader at my work or school or sports club’.”

The organisation is independent and self-funded. Its school presenters

are all aged in their early 20s and supported by volunteers. At 29 Kershaw

says (with a slight chortle) he is considered a dinosaur by his colleagues and

already he is looking out for the talents who will succeed him. “Twenty-

year-olds are the future of this organisation. They have the most connection

and the most impact,” he says.

Matt Kershaw