A Rising Tide

We’re excited to introduce four young artists and community organisers, who will be shaping Next Wave’s programming in 2024 as part of A Rising Tide.

Working with Next Wave’s incoming Artistic Directorate, Banda, Lydia, Matisse and MaggZ join our creative leadership team as the Young Artistic Directorate, working collectively to curate projects with, by and for young people across the state.

Between them, they bring a wealth of relationships across communities, shared joy in food, culture, hosting great parties, knowledge across street dance, podcasting and storytelling – and a wide-eyed ambition to create the ground swell for Next Wave’s future programming.

Prioritising intergenerational learning, A Rising Tide is a leadership and curatorial development program, that encourages experimentation and risk-taking in curating, community building and culture-making. The Young Artistic Directorate will be nurtured through mentoring and collaborative curatorial design, equipping them with the tools to shape their own visions of the future.

A Rising Tide is a result of a year-long co-design process led by Next Wave’s Nickila De Silva, and is generously supported by VicHealth through their Future Healthy Initiatives, created to move the dial on young people’s collective health, wellbeing and social connection through art, creativity and culture.

What are you waiting for? Let’s dive in…


Matisse Laida is an emerging writer and producer in Wurundjeri country.

Matisse founded We Eatin’ Good (WEG), a platform for queer First Nations, Black, and POC to showcase food and identity. Through WEG, Matisse has had the opportunity to meet and work with community, to hear and share their stories.

Matisse has hosted and posted a web-series with In(V)isible the Drum, curated Next Wave’s Radical Hospitality events, produces a queer chef series with queer Black owned restaurant OKO, and co-directed and produced a documentary commissioned by Multi-Cultural Arts Victoria which premiered with Human Rights Arts and Film Festival and screened with ACMI Online.

Matisse has also worked in curating and producing community events and fundraisers, spoken on numerous panels, and has worked in stage and screen production as a writer, producer and performer.

Matisse is currently a part of the Black Marks writing course with Arts House/Yirramboi, has completed the Victorian Independent Producers Initiative with TNA, and is grateful to be working again with Next Wave as a Young Artistic Directorate for A Rising Tide.


Lydia Tesema is a Melbourne born and raised, Ethiopian MC, Conversationalist, Creative, Youth Programs Facilitator, Cultural and Community Engagement Consultant, Converse All Star and the founder of creative media agency ‘Below The Surface’.

Dedicated to carving out a unique and versatile career as a global Thought Leader, Entrepreneur and Community Leader, Lydia divides her time between community work and her love Presenting, Hosting Emceeing, Speaking and Panel Moderating.

Academically, Lydia has completed a Bachelor of Social Science (Behavioural Studies), MicroCert in Digital Storytelling, Engaging in Positive Behaviour Support Practices (short course) and is a 2021 Blue Nile African Australian Business Masterclass Program alumni.

Extremely passionate about making sense of the world and inspiring the next generation to be purpose- and change-driven, Lydia uses the power of connection, communication, conversation, creating (in all its forms) and her deep interest in social cohesion to leave her unique mark on the world.


A ‘big-ideas guy’, and self-described ‘good friend’, Anthony Bandalan aka Banda is an enthusiastic documentarian of his artistic surroundings.

Across various mediums he spotlights and uplifts his creative counterparts, trying to capture the very essence that defines his artistic community. His passion project podcast, ‘De Tempore’, takes centre stage as an unfiltered, unvarnished chronicle of life’s moments experienced by his circle of friends.

Beyond the microphone, Banda’s commitment to creative exploration extends to community cultivation and a necessity to ensure its documentation at an important time in its growth.

Through his ‘big ideas’ and a collective effort, his vision takes shape: to elevate and enrich the art scene in Naarm/Melbourne, fostering an enduring legacy woven with threads of positivity, gratitude, and unwavering pride in the collective journey and boundless potential that lie ahead.

Banda’s narrative is one of empowerment, connectivity, and the profound celebration of his cherished creativity community.


Yujia Zhu aka MaggZ is a Naarm-based (Melbourne, Australia) queer Chinese movement artist, creative director and producer, trained in ballet and now specialised in waacking – a freestyle dance originated in 1970s LA from the Latinix and African American queer community, predominantly involving arm movements.

Traversing amongst street dance battles, performances, installations, creative direction and producing, MaggZ’s practice centres aliveness, stillness, persistence and agency and aspires to honour the authentic self and living experience through transdisciplinary explorations in both physical and digital landscapes.

MaggZ was appointed as a Producer in Residence at Next Wave (Naarm), and producer/performance art consultant at Collide24 (Berlin, Germany). MaggZ’s recent achievements include the recipient of the Young Creative Awards in 2020, nominated four times by the Green Room awards, and the winner of Destructive Steps allstyle 2v2 dance battle in 2022.

  1. A Rising Tide – Future Reset