Leaving the Middle East to study in Perth was the first step Caine Chennatt took on a personal journey that has seen him accomplish so much since arriving 11 years ago.
You get the feeling however this is just the tip of the iceberg.
On completion of his communications degree, Caine joined the UWA Faculty of Arts in 2009 and moved to the Cultural Precinct in 2013.
“I’m committed to improving inclusion and accessibility and with regards to art, I think it is great that we are increasingly considering its impact and relevance. Engaging with communities is at the heart of what we do.
“Improving the welfare of societies is central to why a university exists, and thus we have a responsibility to make it accessible to as many people as possible,” he says.
Caine is spearheading this on campus through initiatives like the LWAG+ App used by Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery visitors to learn more about the art on display, access programs for the blind and those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and a new initiative to translate artworks through 3D printing.
“This particular project is in collaboration with DADAA, an artist with disability advocacy group in Fremantle, and the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics and combines a 3D print of an artwork with an audio description of the work.
“It’s an exciting initiative and will make these works more accessible to visitors with disabilities. Being able to touch a painting for example and hear the artist’s story will bring the experience to life,” he says.
Born and raised in Kuwait, the family moved to his father’s homeland of South India during the Gulf War, returning once the danger had subsided. Caine knew by his early teens that his future was not in Kuwait which ultimately motivated his move to Australia.
Caine’s personal history brings together an amalgamation of many cultures and it makes sense that inclusion underpins his values and guides his interests. Outside of UWA he is also a workplace mediator, part of the TEDxPerth team and runs monthly meetups on minimalism and wellbeing.
“I spend my time on projects I believe can have a positive social impact.
“For example what I love about TEDxPerth is that while ideas are obviously at the heart of what we do, just as important is the fact we bring the WA community together to discuss them.
“Again a priority for me is to ensure these events are accessible to anyone. If people can’t attend due to location, price, time or any other reason, they’re livestreamed for free. Our next event is on Saturday and with a diversity of speakers, it’s going to be really intriguing. Anyone interested can check out the website for details,” he says.
Having multiple projects on the go is business as usual for Caine, and he’s also busy preparing for next week’s Big Draw Festival hosted by the Cultural Precinct. This is a world-wide event where people from all different backgrounds can celebrate and try their hand at drawing. This year’s theme is “STEM”.
“Big Draw is about bringing us back to that playful activity that we engaged with as children. Somewhere along the line we stopped drawing but research shows there are many benefits of drawing as a life skill.”
Google’s cutting-edge Tilt Brush technology which allows using to don a virtual reality and paint in immersive 3D is one of the activities on offer. More details in the video below.