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Opening Night

Hand in Hand Opening Night is a ticketed fundraiser event, held on Friday 22nd March at Project Contemporary Artspace.  Tickets cost $60 and include a glass of champagne, traditional Syrian snacks, a cello performance by Catalin Dermenjian, live music by Kate Cillekens, the first chance to purchase exhibited artworks, and the opportunity to bid for 3 beautiful artworks up for auction by artists from refugee backgrounds.  Buy your tickets here https://www.trybooking.com/VSTC

Over 50 artists from refugee and non-refugee backgrounds have contributed to this year’s event.  More than 100 artworks in a range of media, including painting, photography, sculpture, textiles, jewellery and ceramics, will feature in this year’s exhibition.  Acclaimed artists including Caroline Baum, Blak Douglas, Halinka Orszulok, Paul Ryan, Helen McCosker,  Susan MCalister, and Nikki Main are among the wonderful supporters who have generously donated original artworks for this year’s exhibition. 

Hand in Hand 2019 will be exhibiting works from three artists from refugee backgrounds. These unique pieces will be auctioned on the Opening Night.

Peete Jowanie

‘Generation to Generation’

 

Peete Jowanie, originally from Myanmar, was 9 years old when he arrived in Wollongong in 2008.

In 2018, Peete completed his HSC, which included this beautiful body of work, titled ‘Generation to Generation‘ as his final submission for Visual Arts.  In Peete’s words:

“My body of work is a culmination of four portraits. Each portrait represents different emotions from joy and gratefulness to the feeling of being lost and astray. These portraits represent the fading transition from cultural identity of a refugee from a grandmother to her grandson and emphasizes deeper sentimental connections which slowly become forgotten with contemporary societal pressures.”

Najla Sbei

‘Fluidity’

 

Najla left Damascus, Syria as an asylum seeker in 2012. Najla has a Master’s degree in History and worked as a high school teacher in her homeland. She now works in the disability sector in Australia. 

“Fluidity” is a unique combination of cultural influences.

“Drawing and painting are my meditation, and my way to express my feelings no matter what they are. I did not learn it, I found myself doing it…

…When I came to Australia I was searching for inspiring ideas to do some panting and I found the Aboriginal dot painting with all the different colours and I loved it! So I used the dot technique on eastern mandalas, and other designs which reflect, in my eyes, the beauty of different cultures…”

Arash Nedaiee Diznab

‘Rumi’s Desire’

 

Arash was born in Tehran, Iran in 1977 and moved to Australia in 2016. He started to learn Persian calligraphy as a teenager.

“The thing that inspires me in calligraphy is… the words that have significant message for readers and attracts people to read the words and think about them. Most of the themes in my calligraphy is religious verse or classic Persian literature.

I think each person must play their role in the community. In my religion (Bahai faith) I have learnt that we must spread love and companionship in our community, then we can show other people that universal peace starts from each person’

 

Translation of Poem: “Rumi’s Desire”

Show me your face
I crave
flowers and gardens
open your lips
I crave
the taste of honey
come out from
behind the clouds
I desire a sunny face
your voice echoed
saying “leave me alone”
I wish to hear your voice
again saying “leave me alone”
I swear this city without you
is a prison
I am dying to get out
to roam in deserts and mountains

I am tired of
flimsy friends and
submissive companions
I die to walk with the brave
am blue hearing
nagging voices and meek cries
I desire loud music
drunken parties and
wild dance
one hand holding
a cup of wine
one hand caressing your hair
then whirling in orbital circle
that is what I yearn for

I can sing better than any nightingale
but because of
this city’s freaks
I seal my lips

while my heart weeps
yesterday the wisest man
holding a lit lantern
in daylight
was searching around town saying
I am tired of
all these beasts and brutes
I seek
a true human
we have all looked
for one but
no one could be found
they said
yes he replied
but my search is
for the one
who cannot be found