SOPHIA DE MESTRE
Sophia is a Sydney girl who has an appreciation for cultural and creative niche experiences locally and internationally. With an enthusiastic ear for discovering local talent, new trends and exploring our diverse culinary scene, she creates innovative Sydney experiences.
Sophia has had extensive involvement in the Visual Arts Industry, working with artists and art and engaging audiences with a philosophy that is participatory, accessible and informative. Sophia studied Fine Art History and Theory at the University of Sydney and has a Masters of Curatorship and Cultural Leadership from University of NSW, Art and Design. She has exhibited as a visual artist and photographer, arts writer and managed commercial galleries in Sydney. As well as working at Hong Kong Art Fair and Melbourne Art Fair. She is a Curator and Consultant assisting private collectors looking to expand their interests in art, creativity and collecting.
Her interests’ range from cooking, yoga, hiking, eating out, traveling, art and architecture and enjoying Sydney’s beaches.
Emilya is the founder and director of Art Pharmacy, an online gallery that hosts regular pop-up exhibitions around Sydney. Her mission is to make art affordable and accessible to everyone, while supporting local Australian artists. She is also the founder and owner of Art Pharmacy Consulting, where she offers consulting services to a wide range of corporate businesses and individual clients looking to start or expand their art inventory.
Emilya studied art history at SOAS and UCL in London. She has an extensive background in the visual arts, having worked for some of the top art galleries and institutions in the world, including Lisson Gallery, Hauser & Wirth, The British Museum and Eskenazi. Emilya has also worked with private collector, James Birch Esq., for years, where she looked after his vast collection of works, including artists such as Damien Hirst, Francis Bacon and Gilbert & George.
Emilya is a MCA Young Ambassador Committee member, a tour guide for the Sydney Contemporary Art Fair in September 2013, and was a nominee for the 2015 InStyle and Audi 'Women of Style’ and 2014 NSW Business Chamber 'Young Entrepreneurs' awards.
Melinda is a Sydney born local of the Inner West and expert on all the ins and outs of Sydneys street art culture. She is an established graphic designer by trade, who sources her inspiration from the intricately-realised artworks she discovers on the streets.
She is the author of Street Art of Sydney's Inner West and has spent the last fifteen years photographing, researching and advising graffitists and artists of all forms around Sydney's streets. Melinda is a natural raconteur, bringing her extensive experiences and knowledges in art-making to her tour groups.
Lily is a freelance artist, writer and culture lover originally from Western Australia who now lives and works in Sydney. Her experience in creative facilitation implementing collaborative, community-based art projects both in Australia and overseas has been invaluable in her work as Culture Scouts' Cultural Project Manager.
Lily also creates murals to raise awareness of social and environmental issues and has worked with communities across the world to tell impactful stories through art. Her recent clients include Mission Australia, City of Parramatta, Girvan Waugh and Waverley Council. Lily's art has been featured in Yen Mag, and she has crated work for the famous Bondi Beach Graffiti Wall.
Her favourite things to do in Sydney include seeing bands in Newtown, finding the best avocado on toast and going for a surf.
Dara Wei is a Beijing-born, Sydney-based curator, project developer, and translator/interpreter (Mandarin-English). Wei is also a hip-hop freestyle dancer desperately in love with the richness and hidden beauty of underground hip-hop culture. Her passion for contemporary art and hip-hop has led Wei to immerse herself in Sydney’s dynamic arts and culture scene.
Believing that locals are not just born but, more importantly, cultivated, Wei has found great joy in researching and sharing knowledge about local history, individual stories, culinary delights, art and cultural events. In re-discovering and sharing the rich history and exciting up-and-comings of Haymarket/Darling Square area, Wei has truly connected to the land on which she is living and working now as a Sydneysider, and would love to circulate the beautiful experience through being a tour guide at Culture Scouts.
You will mostly likely find her at galleries contemplating on art and ideas, on the streets jamming with her dancer friends, or in Sydney’s beloved cafés sipping the liquid gold with a book in hand.
Sydney-based artist Jason Wing is a prolific multidisciplinary artist who strongly identifies with, and examines, both his Chinese (Cantonese) and Aboriginal heritage (descendant of the Biripi people). He also takes the occasional Culture Scouts tour, showing lucky visitors the hidden gems of Sydney.
Originally a Sydney street artist, Jason creates challenging works that call into question our understanding of history, identity and socio-political reality. His work ‘Between Two Worlds’ is one of the most visited and photographed public works in Haymarket.
Read Culture Scouts' article 'On Weaving Culture, Heritage and Community into Public Spaces' to learn more about Jason's practice.
Bunkwaa AKA CRAIG BUNKER
Drawing his imagination from a freakishly divine higher power, BUNKWAA is a self-proclaimed visionary cartoonist. Known as the Alex Grey of the cartooning world, his images are a kaleidoscopic caricature of the higher dimensional planes of existence. Full of character, worlds within worlds and faces within faces, these cartoons are a sleight of hand journey into an uncanny realm. Explore a multi-dimensional world made of pure forms and archetypal characters. Like an inter-dimensional wonderland, you become Alice, as your eyes peer further and further down the rabbit hole.
BUNKWAA leads a mysterious double life as ‘Craig Bunker’ - a Culture Scout who runs regular street art walking tours through Sydney’s Inner West.
Randal is a Costa-Rican/Australian artist and tour guide. With a background in painting and international cruising, Randal has travelled around the world, delivering tours in Petra, The Hermitage, The Louvre, and along the The Great Wall of China. Having trained as a painter at Sydney’s National Art School and the University of San Francisco, Arvilla is also an award winning artist, heavily inspired by his extensive travelling. He has exhibited in the Chippendale New World Art Prize (2016), St George Art Award (2014, 2012) and the Waverley Art Prize (2012), His current inspiration for his art practice is the history of Encaustic paintings, and ancient Roman-Egyptian style of portraiture.
For his Culture Scouts tours, you can expect to learn about cutting edge contemporary culture alongside tales from the past.
Carol is a Sydney-based travel photographer and Bundajung woman who has worked in the corporate and public sphere, and twice with the Head On Photo Festival. She is as comfortable exploring and photographing in Rural NSW, Antarctica, Valparaíso or Bueno Aires, as she is in urban Sydney.
An indigenous woman, Carol is a member of the Bundajung tribe whose lands lie in the Northern River area of rural NSW and also has extensive connections with the local Sydney Eora peoples. Carol believes that in her role as a storyteller it is important for international visitors (and indeed, some Australians) to be made aware of the different but converging stories of Australian indigenous peoples, which tell of their strong relationship with the land. In terms of the local Sydney indigenous story, street art is often a story of their dispossession.