Starting in November of last year and running until March of this year, the Museum of Brisbane showcased THE STOKE – A History of Brisbane Skateboarding exhibition. It was a celebration of the rich history and enduring culture of skateboarding in my hometown, Brisbane, Australia. The Stoke explored “the intersection of physical and artistic expression that defines the pursuit of skateboarding and the camaraderie that unites Brisbane skateboarders from all walks of life from the 1960s to today”—the people, legends and stories. It was definitely one of the coolest exhibitions that I have seen in their space yet!
Over the duration of the exhibition’s run there were skate jams & parties held at skate parks in and around Brisbane. Bands played, barbeques were fired up, copping was grinded and bowls shredded. To me skateboarding and punk rock have always gone hand-in-hand—The Stoke exhibition logo was created by Agent Orange frontman Mike Palm.
Photo by Mark Burton
I was honored to be asked to be a part of it all, growing up surrounded by skateboarding culture (my family have owned skate stores since the ’80s) it was a real treat. Both myself and Jeremy Staples (founders of the Paper Cuts Collective Zine Co-op) facilitated zine workshops right in the middle of the exhibition floor, next to the indoor mini-bowl that had been specially made for the exhibit. I was overjoyed at being able to share my love of zines, 17-year experience of zine making and knowledge with others amongst all the skateboarding memorabilia and photos of skateboarding friends up on the walls.
We decided to get everyone at the workshops to work on a page that represented skateboarding and/or what it means to them, or something in life that they’re super passionate about. The pages would be collated into one larger zine at the end and then mailed out to everyone. It was such a beautiful thing to see what folks came up with. Everyone had the best time. It warmed my heart how much everyone really got into the idea and the creative process. I was blown away each time someone came up to me with a finished page—the output was incredible!
At the end of the workshops I had super stoked kids coming up to me telling me how they had no idea they could make their own [maga]zines and that they were going to go home and make one. Another lady that was in attendance was a school teacher and said she wanted to take the idea to use back in her classroom. Kids were even coming up ‘high fiving’ me with the hugest smiles on their faces thanking me… I almost cried. It’s events like this I enjoy working on most, being able to share ideas and knowledge and creating a real positive community vibe is the best!
Many thanks to all at the Museum of Brisbane especially one of my favourite people in the whole world – Anne-Marie Te Whiu. Love your work!
All photos courtesy of the Museum of Brisbane except The Stoke logo pic by Mark Burton.
For more photos from The Stoke launch go here. Also check out the vid below from The Stoke’s opening night: