A state-wide discussion about refugee-related arts practice will take centre stage at a forum SSI is co-hosting later this month.
Held from August 19–20 at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (CPAC), the Arts and Refugees Forum will create a space for artists, community development workers, educators, and arts and humanitarian organisations to share their experiences and discuss various aspects of artistic practice by, with and about refugees.
Refugees – a landmark exhibition at CPAC from July 29 to September 11– will form the backdrop for talks, panel discussions and presentations from more than 40 speakers including Chinese-Australian artist Guo Jian and Iranian-Australian filmmaker and human rights activist Saba Vasefi.
The free event gives people working at the intersection between the arts and refugees an opportunity to come together and develop their practice, according to SSI Arts and Culture Coordinator Carolina Triana, who developed the forum in partnership with CPAC and with the support of CuriousWorks.
"From the arts and community sectors to academia, the Arts and Refugees Forum will bring people together to share and reflect on their experiences and practice," Ms Triana said. "The Forum is all about providing a platform for discussion, critical thought, creative exchange and fornurturing future collaborations.
"The event is also a fantastic chance to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions refugees and people seeking asylum have made to the arts, while reflecting on the particular needs and challenges that artists from refugee backgrounds face in Australia."
This contribution is highlighted in two exhibitions taking place at CPAC in conjunction with the Arts and Refugees Forum. The Refugees exhibition features works from 22 world-renowned artists from refugee backgrounds that were gathered from major public and private collections across Australia.
Another exhibition taking place at CPAC in conjunction with the forum is Beyond Refuge: Citizens, which CuriousWorks has developed with local Sydney-based artists who are former refugees, current asylum seekers and first generation Australians.
CuriousWorks Communications Director Gary Spink described the exhibition as a fantastic fusion of two key community art programs.
“These photo, audio and video works combine the developing talents of young western Sydney artists from our Curious Creators program with those of more experienced refugee and asylum seeker artists who emerged from photography and filmmaking workshops we ran in partnership with SSI over the past two years," he said.
"The exchange of practice and ideas has been a creative and inspirational experience for all involved, forcing some deep reflection on their personal refugee backgrounds and the fundamental rights of every human being to freedom and peace. We hope the works are similarly thought-provoking for viewers, and they walk away with positive messages about diversity."
Click here to register for the Arts and Refugee Forum or view the full program.