A free-spirit studying psychology at the University of Sydney.
Encounter the extraordinary experiences of refugees
There are millions of people around the world who have had no choice but to escape their homeland for reasons such as genocide and war, as Amnesty International explains. Amnesty is teaming up with Palmera to bring you closer to the experiences of these refugees; experiences encountered as they seek a safe haven away from the horrors of their own lands, and experiences encountered as they search for 'A Way Out'
Here is a snippet of background for these two organisations that are coming together for this project, which is in the form of an art exhibition. Amnesty International is an organisation that aims to protect the rights of all humans to freedom and justice. Palmera similarly aims to meet human rights, with a specified goal to achieve "sustainable livelihoods for the most vulnerable in Sri Lanka and Cambodia" through a series of investments and training programs - as we are told on their website.
This art exhibition, to be hosted by the Verge Gallery at the University of Sydney, will showcase the works of Australian and international artists. Each of the artists have had the opportunity to personally meet and talk to Sri Lankan refugees to learn about their stories and to find what they, themselves would like to communicate in regard to refugee experiences. These refugees had made the brave decision to escape the brutal civil war of their home country. They have survived through Sri Lankan camps for 'internally displaced' persons, boat journeys across treacherous oceans, and finally, a long time being contained in Australian detention centres.
While artists will have the many injustices involved in these stories to consider, they have been told by the coordinators to also commemorate the positive aspects accompanying these experiences. These include the power of determination, the growth of personal strength throughout the refugee journey, and the beginning of a new life upon reaching a new land.
Image from awayout.palmera.org
A friend of mine has a photography piece in the exhibition. Her work captures the formation of a new identity following the trauma encountered within the experiences of the refugees that she had the privilege of speaking with. She has explained that the refugees had a strong interest in sharing this story of overcoming the many harsh obstacles that they had encountered. This background to her piece gives an example of the kind of messages that you can expect to underlie the artworks - some of which will appear quite abstract at face-value. I'm sure that you will find a variety of inspirational refugee stories represented at this event.
Entry to the art exhibition is $20, with the option of buying tickets online from the event's official site. If you are interested, get in quickly, because the tickets are limited. There will be a silent auction for the artworks running throughout, with all proceeds made from the event going toward the charity organisations - Amnesty and Palmera, who continue to support refugees and run projects that help human rights to be met around the world.
Image from awayout.palmera.org
Canapés and light entertainment will be provided to you at the venue. You will also get a free drink on arrival, and will be able to purchase more drinks if desired from the bar that will be set up on-site. If attending, remember to dress in smart casual. None of the images used in this article are of the artworks themselves - those, are waiting for you to discover at the exhibition itself. I hope that those of you who do attend enjoy the unique pieces, and that you leave feeling inspired from your close encounter with the stories of these refugees.