Global Cultures

Katherine Hudson

June 2016

LGBTI Activist

She co-founded Wear It Purple with a friend while still in school - a movement that has grown from strength to strength. In a continued effort to celebrate the inspirational people and the communities of New South Wales, ANZ has commissioned street artist Kaff-eine to help give Katherine and Wear It Purple an even bigger voice with a mural at Sydney’s Bondi Junction. This is part of a series of portraits that will appear across Sydney in the run up to this year’s Archibald Prize, of which ANZ is principal sponsor. 

KATHERINE HUDSON

Born in 1993 in Sydney, Katherine Hudson was just 17 years-old when she co-founded Wear It Purple, an influential anti-homophobic bullying campaign in schools. “I saw purple as a way of bringing people together from all different backgrounds and creating one thing…a symbol of unity,” says Katherine.

Wear It Purple was founded in 2010, after Katherine became actively aware of the rate of youth suicide amongst young LGBTI people. “The fact that gay, lesbian and bi-sexual teenagers are 14 times more likely to commit suicide before they turn 25 is simply unacceptable in modern day Australia.”

“I saw purple as a way of bringing people together from different backgrounds… a symbol of unity”

“Wear it Purple has a central message, that you have the right to be proud of who you are. It’s a day for everyone and it’s a day of acceptance, and so that’s why coming out of a very dark place of youth suicides, it’s now transformed into a very positive day of acceptance in schools” she says.

Katherine continues to be a strong voice for the rights of LGBTI people, and for the awareness of youth suicide and bullying.

 

KAFF-EINE

Of all the careers Kaff-eine has had in her time – horse-riding instructor, lawyer, tree lopper and public servant included – street artist is the one that has stuck. Since 2010 she has garnered a strong following among Australian and international street art lovers and art collectors, who are drawn to her illustrative freehand style, delicate linework and quiet melancholic characters.

As someone who has experienced that discrimination first hand, Kaffeine is proud to help LGBTI people feel more accepted through this mural, featuring Katherine and other rainbow youth.

Says Kaffeine, “Wear it Purple is such a beautiful, simple response to something that's a really pressing concern.”

As a visual artist, that simplicity speaks volumes to her. “It doesn't need language- it’s just wearing a colour, that says hey, I’m with you, I stand with you. It’s part of what street art does. To see something where there was a blank wall, and now there is a big image. You walk down the street, and you’re not expecting to see a big show of support. You turn the corner and you go, wow, look at that.

Colour plays a big part in Kaff-eine’s work and the powerful symbolism behind Wear It Purple is not lost on her. “Purple is not a primary colour. You can't make purple without the combining of two colours. And the movement to stem the tide of young people killing themselves requires more than one person. People have to come together. People from different backgrounds.”

The symbolism is made more powerful by way the Wear it Purple organisation is run. “I love that Katherine talks about how one person can’t carry this. The movement has grown from the combination of people.”

“Every day it’s up there, (this wall) is a huge sign of support.”

The Process

One of the things Kaff-eine loves about street art is the platform it provides for powerful messages.

“The act of painting a decent sized wall in public area means that people come up and talk to you. I love that that starts a conversation about Katherine, and Wear It Purple, amongst people who may not have considered this issue.”

#InspiringLocals: Katherine Hudson Timelapse

See LGBTI activist & advocate Katherine Hudson come to life as Kaff-eine paints her mural in Bondi Junction

Kaff-eine has designed the portrait to highlight Katherine as the founder of Wear it Purple, and reflect Katherine’s passion for community participation and collaboration, with characters surrounding her, all celebrating their rainbow identities as part of Wear it Purple.

She is enthused about the impact on the community, “What this wall will do for young rainbow people is not just one day a year but every day it's up there, it’s a huge visual sign of support. You’re not alone. You are supported. You are loved. There is a community just like you.”

ANZ in the community

Diversity, Inclusion and Respect are part of ANZ’s everyday priorities, both inside the workplace and out. For ANZ, building a strong culture of respect for all people and communities is seen as fundamental to success. Over the last 10 years, ANZ has been a major sponsor and proud participant of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. As part of Mardi Gras ANZ supports Twenty10, an organisation helping NSW LGBTI youth.  Through our volunteering ANZ  ANZ Pride Network members support a range of LGBTI community groups and events globally.