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Awakening – Melbourne Artists for Asylum Seekers

  • St Helliers Gallery Abbotsford Convent (map)


Presented by Melbourne Artists for Asylum Seekers and featuring the works of 24 artists, including artists formerly detained at the Manus Regional Processing Centre, 'Awakening' explores language, expression, identity and barriers.

An electrical engineer, a teacher, a translator, an industrial designer, all from Iran, who all sought asylum in Australia; in spite of their differing professional backgrounds, while held in detention, they all found solace in art through the workshops run by Melbourne Artists for Asylum Seekers (MAFA). The works of these asylum seekers and others are collected in this exhibition and show the healing power of art.

MAFA is a volunteer group dedicated to hosting quality art workshops for asylum seekers in and out of detention. Through monthly workshops, exhibitions and public events, MAFA aim to raise awareness of the lives and talents of asylum seekers across Australia, and to help unite people through collaboration and artistic expression.

Each weekend in July, MAFA and featured artists will present free artist Q&As and workshops as part of 'Awakening'.

Meet the Artists
Saturday 8 July, 12 – 3pm
Facilitated by artists Zohreh Izadikia, Mahla Karimian and Ponce A Delph, join us at Cam's Kiosk to meet with the artists featured in 'Awakening' and hear their stories.

Stories of Awakening
Saturday 15 July, 12 – 3pm
Sri Lankan spoken word artists Sri and Ravi will collaborate with other refugee poets for a small performance and story-telling event.

Life Drawing Workshop
Saturday 22 July, 12 – 3pm
The first MAFA workshop in detention was a life drawing session. This is a nod to MAFA's beginnings and a chance for the group to get together again.

Meet the Artists and Craft Workshop
Saturday 29 July, 12 – 3pm
Artists Tri Setyani, Maryam Sepasi, Samaneh Malekshahi and Molly George present a craft workshop for designs to be printed on tote bags, t-shirts and other textiles.

Earlier Event: June 29
Heart is a Wasteland