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Beyond refuge: dialogues

CuriousWorks presents: Ali Al Azeez, Elham BehinAein, Ali Mousawi, Daisy Montalvo and Samia Halabi
This event has concluded
Entry Fee: Free
Exhibition Event:
Official Opening 05/05/2019 11:30 am


Directed by Ali Al Azeez

Sally arrives in Australia to begin a new life with Abraham, full of hope; and as time passes, carelessness casts its long, winter shadow. Sally and Abraham are a young couple, full of hope. Sally has come from her home country to live in suburban Sydney with Abraham. Enlivened by the courage of taking such a huge leap of faith with the promise of love, they begin their life together.

As times presses on, with work, old habits and obligations, the couple begin to sleepwalk through their lives. One day Sally awakes, startled and discovers that all the colour has drained from their home and their bodies. They have become old. In a waking, melancholy dream, the couple stumble and try to repair the wreckage of carelessness. This romantic film hits a nerve with many of us; recognising the easy slide into half-light when we take the promise of love for granted.

New home, new hopes

A video portraiture project of two women and their experience of making a new home in Australia created by Elham BehinAein.

With photographer Elham BehinAein, Neli and Iman share how, as migrant women and mothers, they made Sydney their home. “Fear of the future or feeling without safety makes you fragile I think… makes you break… When I arrived here, we feel a new feeling. It’s very, very important.” – Iman

Photographer Elham BehinAein, arrived in Australia two years ago, herself a refugee from Iran. With the support of CORE Community Services and networks in Fairfield, Elham began a process of reaching out to women, open to share their stories of migration and take part in portraiture sittings, in their homes and out in the streets. Many women were interested, but only two were confident to create images for the public. Neli and Iman shared their very different experiences of home-making and belonging.

My name is Mohamed and Raghad. We don’t exist here anymore

A one shot, twelve-minute film about a day in the life of an Ahwazi asylum seeker family, surviving in Australia. Directed by Ali Mousawi

Two asylum seeker children race home from school to care for their gravely ill father; as the bureaucratic world closes in around their family. Mohamed is ten years old. Raghad, his sister, is eleven. They are Ahwazi asylum seekers, living with their father in Liverpool, Sydney. These children have grown up without their mother, brother or extended family who are all back in Iran. Since arriving by boat with their father seven years ago, they struggled to make a home however they can while fighting to unite their family. We meet these young people on their way home from school. They are racing back to check on their gravely unwell father. As the action unfolds, it is clear these children carry enormous responsibilities for their age, as interpreters and advocates for their family in a hostile, bureaucratic environment. In a world where over 65 million displaced people are seeking a new life, free from war and persecution, these two pragmatic children are left in a small apartment, face-to-face with their fate.

El Baile

Directed by Daisy Montalvo

A young woman, Jossleyn loses her passion for dancing in the chaos of her migration journey; with the help of one kind person who accepts her for who she is, Josselyn is able to dance again. Josselyn moved to Australia from El Salvador in 2015 when she was 14 years old. In the chaos of huge, cultural change she loses the one thing that made her feel herself the most, dancing.

Set on the suburban streets of Mt Druitt, western Sydney, El Baile is a dance, cinematic poem about nostalgia and isolation. Josselyn once felt like a star in her home country, and now, she feels stuck in her new reality. In the process of migration, Jossleyn lost her passion and in turn, lost her happiness. With the help of someone she meets, she is able to return to her passion because they allowed her the space to be herself, without protest. El Baile highlights the importance of holding onto your cultural roots and passion, and call upon the importance of acceptance within our society.

Trinity: a short film about three friends

Directed by Samia Halabi

Three friends become a family; no matter what the odds are, no matter what we have been through; we help each other, like family. Three young people hold their friendship to their heart and share a strong bond. They don’t let anything, or anyone get in their way. They spend most of their time together and they tell each other everything. Here we meet them at the Bents Basin, an ancient waterhole in Western Sydney, sitting by the river watching the sunset. They head back to the campsite and sit around the fireplace and telling each other stories of the past and remembering the first day they met.

Right here, right now, nothing else matters.

Mahdi has his arms around the two girls, as they laugh. The friends sit by the fireplace talking about their home countries, the issues and what they miss, also why their family had to flee or why they had to leave on their own. Their friendship brings together their history of seeking asylum and migration from Afghanistan, Argentina and Lebanon. This film is about a Trinity, a balance and connection; it is about the next generation of Australians, sharing friendship and solidarity.

Discussion Panel

When: 2pm-3pm Saturday 11 May

Where: Festival Hub, Paddington Town Hall, 249 Oxford St, Paddington

Film-makers Ali Al Azeez, Ali Mousawi, Daisy Montalvo, Samia Halabi and Elham BehinAein discuss their experiences and work.

Beyond Refuge is CuriousWorks’ three-year creative development program for artists who share an asylum seeker and refugee experience. Recently arrived and first gen artists collaborated to give voice and vision to new stories of our times. Artists have built new skills and networks, developed their original ideas and produced unique video and photo-media work.

This event has concluded
Entry Fee: Free
Exhibition Event:
Official Opening 05/05/2019 11:30 am
© Rob Johnston

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