Monday, March 16, 2015

Our Beautiful Names: Art And Poetry In Castlemaine

Yesterday, as part of the Castlemaine State Festival, the Writing Through Fences group opened their Our Beautiful Names exhibit at St Mary's hall.

The title of the show is taken from a poem within the exhibit, referring to the practice in the Immigration system to refer to people by a number:

let us be strong,
let us forget numbers,
let us call out
our beautiful names.

The art works on display, and poems available in a booklet for purchase, have all been created by people held in Christmas Island, in detention centres around Australia, and some from both Manus Island and Nauru.

Such beautiful works, showing such pain, the fluctuating hope and despair, and the humanity of those stuck in this highly politicised situation.

The hall also contained an area at the back dedicated to those lives lost recently within the Immigration system, with one death this past week making the dedication all the more emotional for the room.

The room at the opening was filled with people now living in the community, under bridging visas or whatever their circumstances have allowed. The joy and energy from the young artists, so proud of their works on display, and the gathering there to see it, was infectious!

The photography from Fly Camp in Nauru caught my eye, along with several pieces from some of the men I know from there.

The exhibit is open until the final day on the 22nd March, with donations and proceeds from the booklet on sale going towards finding more way to promote these works, and support the ongoing work of the group to provide an emotional and creative outlet for the people in these circumstances.

Please get along if you can, and see and support this amazing collection of works.

1 comment:

  1. People are not bookkeeping entries. They are not numbers. They are not devoid of personality and volition --- although it is clear that the Australian Government and their vicarious contractors want to make them so. People are human.... and they have names.


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