Melbourne is a big city – and a small one at the same time. It is funny to see how things come full circle, within a year.

So, my host Sara told me about that street artist she liked and knew through a few friends, who had an exhibition in the CBD. She showed me a bit of her work…. And I ‘knew’ her!

Not only had I seen some works of her, all around Melbourne. I had actually seen her paint street art at the Fitzroy pool pretty much exactly one year ago, during the heat wave!

So of course we went to meet her and have a look at her latest works.

Kaff-eine, it turned out, is one of Australia’s premiere female street and contemporary artists (check out her profile on flickr to see more of her street art).

In 2013, she travelled to the Philippines and met up with people living in Manila’s shantytowns, on a huge trash heap, trying to make a living out of recycling the trash, or making charcoal…

A lot of the people living there are desperately poor, undocumented, without rights. When the government decided to tear down their dwellings, sometimes over night, and people disappear, get killed in the process… there was no trace, no one accountable…

So she decided to work with the, gain their trust, raise awareness for their situation, the way she can, with and through her art.

She told us about her journey there, how she found this new subject, how tough it was to see the living conditions… but it seems to have been so rewarding and energizing.

Kaff-eine started to work with the kids, and paint them, on paper that, worn in the process and the heat, has a whole special quality.

She tries to raise money and will go back to document the lives of the people she met.

Meeting her was inspiring, but also felt like another step of feeling at home in Melbourne. So many dots start to connect, the longer I stay.