They say home is where the heart is, and for people seeking asylum in Australia this can be a difficult question to answer. For most of them, ‘home’ oscillates between the memories of the homeland they left behind and of a new place that is unknown but filled with hope.
This idea of an unfinished journey towards a safe place people seeking asylum can call home, was the common theme of the art exhibition Home: between here and there, presented by SSI on Wednesday night at Bankstown Arts Centre. The exhibition features the creative work of a group of visual arts artists who are clients of SSI seeking asylum in Australia.
Around 80 attendees gathered at the opening, which was 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 explained that 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.
“Focusing on professional development, the goal of this program was to provide a proper space where artists could access appropriate material and interact with their local peers as a way to collaborate with them and obtain an insight into the Australian arts scene”, Ms Triana said.
SSI Board member, and CEO of Metro Assist, Lou Bacchiella said: “The theme of ‘home’ being both ‘here and there’ is one that’s familiar to the many Australians who were born overseas or whose parents and grandparents moved to this country. And let’s be honest, it’s something that those of us who are second generation Australians feel intensely as well.”
Bankstown Mayor, Linda Downey, stressed the relationship between their local government area and the refugee community.
“We are proud our city is an official ‘Refugee Welcome Zone’, where we want this community to feel welcome and valued,” she said. “This exhibition is another example of how this collaboration can result in a valuable contribution to the community.”
The exhibition will continue showing at Bankstown Arts Centre until Saturday August 22, 3 to 5pm. It will then travel to Adamstown Arts Centre (Newcastle), where it will be shown from September 18 to October 12, 2015.