The work of eight talented artists who are seeking asylum in Australia was recognised by hundreds of new people in February as the Home: Between Here and There exhibition travelled to Canberra for the first time.
Hosted by the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (ACC&C) as part of a three week program, the travelling exhibition showcased the work of artists who took part in a 10-week skills workshop delivered as part of SSI’s Arts & Culture Program in 2015.
Supported by mentor Abbas Makrab, artists explored the notion of home through visual art, with the resulting eight artworks representing the homeland left behind and the unfinished journey to a new place to call home.
A number of the participating artists – who receive support through SSI’s Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS) program – travelled to Canberra to showcase their artworks, with over 100 people attending the exhibition on the opening night.
Local performers from the Chorus of Women also gave a special performance of Home Away from Home.
Hayder, who is continuing to develop his art in Australia while his claim for asylum is assessed, was proud to showcase his artwork Memories to Canberra locals.
“My artwork is about the memories of my home. Memories keep you connected to your past and what you left behind. They are the only things we’re left with, and they give us hope for the future,” he said.
In a special address, ACC&C Executive Director, Reverend Professor Stephen Pickard congratulated the artists for sharing their talents and inviting the broader community to gain an insight into their work.
“This art has the potential to help us reset our moral compass in this country,” he said.
SSI Board Director Om Dhungel added that the exhibition showcased how SSI’s Arts & Culture Program was helping people to further develop their skills and realise their full potential in Australia.
“This exhibition has given people seeking asylum a chance to tell their stories in their own voices, and their stories add a crucial component to the dialogue which is currently underway in the Australian community,” he said.
“It is an honour to have the unique opportunity to discover and appreciate the phenomenal skills and talents these artists bring to Australia, and we are grateful to be able to bring this exhibition to Canberra with the ACC&C’s support.”