Layla Bacayo | Achievement Award
Community College's Australia Student of the Year Awards
Layla Bacayo is a fierce advocate and leader in the arts and disability sector. Layla fights discrimination against people with disability and strives for equal opportunity, predominantly in the arts. Layla has been attending the supported studio The Art Factory at Riverina Community College in Wagga Wagga since 2016, when the studio was founded.The Art Factory is a self-guided environment that supports the professional development of artists with disability. Across her years attending the studio, Layla’s focus and dedication has founded an established artistic practice. Her quirky style flows across many mediums including illustration, painting, print-making and mixed media. On behalf of Riverina Community College, The Art Factory nominated Layla Bacayo for the Community Education Student of the Year Award for 2021. The Community Education Student of the Year Award is an annual event run by Community Colleges Australia. Individuals who were enrolled in an Australian not-for-profit community education organisation in 2021 were eligible for the selection process. Hundreds of individuals across NSW were nominated for the award based on their contribution to community, their advocacy, leadership and achievements in their chosen field. Of these nominees, 8 finalists were selected, including Layla Bacayo. The Awards took place on the 22nd of February via a virtual Zoom event that included attendees from over 50 locations across NSW. The event was introduced by the Hon Alister Henskens SC MP, NSW Minister for Skills and Training. The Awards were presented by Austin Whitehead- Director, Training Sector Governance & Improvement, Training Services NSW, NSW Department of Education. For her incredible contribution to the Riverina, Layla Bacayo was presented with the Community Colleges Australia Achievement Award for 2021. Of Layla’s many achievements in 2021, these are some projects that led her to be nominated for Student of the Year: The Portrait Factory- As part of Wagga Wagga City Council’s Fresh festival, members of the public were invited to have their portrait drawn by Layla in the studio at the Riverina Community College. Speaking engagement in Canberra- Layla travelled with fellow artist Sarah McEwan to Canberra where they ran a presentation about inclusivity in the arts sector at the Australian Museum and Gallery Association (AMaGA) National Conference. Fashion items- Layla collaborated with the Cad Factory and Gentle Giants to create a series of mash-up designs for clothing items and accessories through fashion platform Aestheletic. Mash-Up exhibition- Layla collaborated with artists Sarah McEwan and Veronica Watson for an exhibition called Mash-Up. The exhibition featured a series of portraits Layla created and was displayed at the Curious Rabbit in Wagga Wagga. The exhibition was officially opened by Penny Grist- lead curator of the National Portrait Gallery. Musical performances- Under her stage name of DJ Lay-Da-Best, Layla has performed at numerous venues including Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, Platform and Riverina Community College Gallery. Layla commented about receiving the Achievement Award ‘I personally fight discrimination against people with disability. I fight to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity, especially in the art world. I am happy with my achievements and that I received this award”. Manager of The Art Factory Leanne Dyer commented about Layla’s achievement- “Layla is a unique and motivated artist; she is a constant advocate for people with disability and a leader in the arts sector”.