City of Greater Dandenong’s annual exhibition, HOME, has announced six shortlisted national artists from a refugee or asylum seeker background.

Their artworks will be on display at the Walker Street Art Gallery from Thursday 18 October to Saturday 24 November 2018 and all artists will receive $1000 each from sponsor IKEA Springvale, to support the development of new work.

Selected by a panel of specialists from within the Creative industries, curator David O’Halloran is excited to announce the national shortlisted artists: Amir Tehrani, Tadros Hanna, Mirwais Janbaz, Lobsan Dhoyou, Zia Atahi and Elyas Alvi.

Afghani Mirwais Janbaz has explored themes of dark and light where women are struggling in another part of the world. In 1997 Mirwais moved to Pakistan to flee a civil war in Kabul. Since moving to Australia Mirwais has taught art classes to other refugees.

Afghani photographer Zia Atahi has explored how environments affect human behavior. Zia has previously run photography workshops in Indonesia and Australia. In 2018 Zia was a National Photographic Portrait
Prize finalist.

Comedian, writer and presenter Sami Shah has come on board as the 2018 HOME ambassador: “To experience the traumas that being a refugee puts you through, and still say ‘I will make art’, is an affirmation of the human craving for expression. The work here is a reminder of our need to care for one another, while also nourishing our hunger for art that reflects heretofore unseen points of view,” said Shah.

All six shortlisted artists will be provided with professional development opportunities in the creative sector.

Now in its fourth year, HOME is a celebration of the City of Greater Dandenong’s cultural diversity, with the city now designated as the most culturally diverse community in Australia. Over half of Greater Dandenong’s residents were born overseas.

Residents come from 157 different birthplaces and speak more than 200 languages. Among the most widely spoken languages is Vietnamese, Khmer, Punjabi, Mandarin, Cantonese and Greek.

Through HOME, exhibiting artists are connected to mentors to increase experience across the creative sector and may be offered further opportunity to participate in the City of Greater Dandenong’s Artist in Residence program.

HOME is just one of the ways the Council aims to foster greater understanding of others and harmony within the community.

HOME Exhibition:
Thursday 18 October – Saturday 24 November
Walker Street Gallery & Arts Centre, corner of Walker and Robinson streets, Dandenong