Art scattered throughout a Newcastle church was an unusual site for many of the guests at the opening of the Home: between here and there exhibition on Friday September 18.
Coming from countries where practicing both religion and art can be a crime, the four Home exhibition artists who travelled from Sydney to participate in the event were thrilled to see the reception to their art.
Home exhibition artists at Adamstown Uniting Church. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers, Newcastle Herald.
About 80 people attended the opening event hosted by Adamstown Arts at Adamstown Uniting Church.
Reverend Rod Pattendon is on the Adamstown Arts committee and supports visual and performance art as a way to express someone’s story and journey.
“People’s perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers are often based on the numbers and statistics they hear in the media,” Rev Pattendon said.
“I want to help expose people to the human beings behind these numbers, and for people to understand that diversity is a gift, not a threat.”
A Persian breakfast event was held the following morning, where guests enjoyed home- made jams, freshly baked bread, dates and tea.
The four artists – Damon AMB, Mohammed Alanezi, Hayder Shakir and Mahdi Jahangirzadeh – each shared the story behind their art and answered questions from the curious crowd.
Novocastrians showed great generosity and hospitality and the artists thoroughly enjoyed their stay.
“Part of the process (of finding home) begins with listening to the story of a stranger,” Rev Pattendon said.
Over the next four weeks Rev Pattendon will refer to the art during his weekly services and all visitors to the church, whether coming for a service or another event, will be exposed to the 18 artworks on display.
The exhibition is the result of a 10-week skills development program that was made available by the SSI Arts & Culture program to clients with an artistic background who showed an interest in developing their professional careers.
SSI Arts & Culture Coordinator Carolina Triana said the program was structured through a series of workshops that were delivered between April and June 2015 at Bankstown Arts Centre, with the aim of providing an opportunity for sustained interaction and mentorship of the artists.
Home: between here and there continues until October 16 at Adamstown Uniting Church, corner of Brunker and Glebe Roads, Adamstown.