‘HOME’ is where the art is, until 15 August

The annual ‘HOME’ exhibition presented by the City of Greater Dandenong, brings us closer to understanding the importance and meaning of what ‘home’ is, be it a place, a feeling or a memory, through the eyes of people in our communities who have had to flee their homelands. Six refugee and asylum seeker artists from across the country are brought together in this timely exhibition of works, which focus on those who experience displacement and are making their way in Australia.

Saidin Salkic, Vegemite and Candle in Space. Courtesy the artist and City of Greater Dandenong, Victoria

Supporting both emerging and established artists, “HOME 2020 provides an outlet for people with a refugee or asylum seeker background to express their thoughts, feelings and educate others about their cultural backgrounds,” shares exhibition Curator Esther Gyorki.

‘HOME’ is this year presented entirely online with an additional program of workshops, activities and other events, such as a Q&A with artist Saidin Salkic, and a series of panel discussions with artists and industry professionals plus more, all completely free to explore in the virtual world from the sanctity of the places we call home.

Artists Dr Dacchi Dang (NSW), Elham Eshraghian (WA), Humaira Fayazi (VIC), Mastaneh Azarnia (VIC) and Saidin Salkic (VIC), were selected from a call to artists for the 2020 ‘HOME’ exhibition. The artists were each awarded $1,000 and invited to participate in a professional development program, which involved workshops and networking opportunities with senior curator National Gallery of Victoria, Simon Maidment and renowned artist Deanne Gilson, as well as working individually with writer and editor Nadia Niaz to produce a written piece for the ‘HOME’ exhibition e-book, produced as documentation of the show and to give deeper insight to the creative motivations for the artists works and their artistic practices.

Dr Dacchi Dang is a Sydney-based Vietnamese-Australian photographic artist and independent researcher, who is interested in the ongoing redefinition and understandings of place and home. In this body of work titled Nostalgia Dang explores the liminal spaces that linger between the public and the private, reflecting on what was, and what is now, across a series of photographs taken with a pinhole camera.

Elham Eshraghian, The End is Glorious If We Only Persevere, (video still), 2019. Courtesy the artists and City of Greater Dandenong, Victoria

Elham Eshraghian is a Perth-based Bahá’í artist who works with film and video installation as the medium to explore the Iranian diaspora in the Australian community. In this show Eshraghian presents The End is Glorious, If We Only Persevere, a three-channel video work “poetically expressing my mother’s experience of escaping Iran in 1979, during the revolution,” she shares.

Humaira Fayazi is a Dandenong-based artist who came to Australia in 2018 as a refugee from Afghanistan. She ran a small art gallery in Kabul and developed her artistic practice there. Working across a range of mediums with a focus on clay, ceramic works and installation art, Fayazi’s work is inspired by the experiences of women in Afghanistan, and the impact that war has had on her own, and their lives. With reflections of her past held close the artist also looks toward the freedoms of a new life in a new place.

Mastaneh Azarnia is a Kurdish Iranian refugee who fled her country in 2013, only to spend seven years on Nauru, she felt sad and alone during that time and turned to creativity as refuge and to express and process her feelings of despair. The works in ‘HOME’ were all made by Azarnia on Nauru and reflect on the artist’s own emotions during that time, as well as portraits of other refugees who lived alongside her.

Mirela Cufurovic, Ihsan (Excellence in Faith), 2018. Courtesy the artist and City of Greater Dandenong, Victoria

Mirela Cufurovic is a Bosnian-Australian emerging watercolour artist. She came to Australia as a refugee with her parents and turned to art as a means of self-expression. Through the development of her self-taught artistic practice Cufurovic aims to create unique and personal interpretations, to reflect on her own identity as a survivor of the Bosnian War, and to connect with others who live with the trauma of conflict.

Saidin Salkic (Mido) was born in Bosnia and lives in Melbourne. Mido is a painter, filmmaker and musician who feels that “art has a responsibility to evolve the cultural identity of an individual and collective consciousness, to moralise it and make it more just, more human and more philosophically relevant on the global stage.” Salkic presents a new series of digital paintings in ‘HOME’.

‘HOME’ 2020 explores the sentiments of what home means to the artists, to us and to others, and celebrates the creative contributions of refugee and asylum seeker artists in Australia. “The artists we have selected this year provide a snapshot of the diversity in our communities, with each artist bringing their own story, history and perspective to their work, all centred on the theme of home,” notes Gyorki.

‘HOME’ is available here on the City of Greater Dandenong website where you can enter the virtual exhibition, flick through the e-book to find out more about the artists and read the curator’s essay, view the calendar of daily events, and engage the young ones in Art for Kids.