Refugee youth share stories through digital art

So Far Away, a piece by Zia Atahi in the Heartlands exhibition.

A stunning exhibition of digital art works by young refugee and migrant artists giving an insight into the refugee experience is being staged in Dandenong under the aegis of Heartlands 2019: Stories from the other side.

The exhibition, presented by migrant and refugee settlement agency AMES Australia, provides a glimpse into the experiences, hopes, dreams and passions of the millions of humans displaced by conflict.

Artists from a broad spectrum of refugee communities have produced artworks using digital media for this year’s exhibition. Hailing from countries including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar and Pakistan, the artists’ work gives insights into the refugee journey and highlights our common humanity.

“Much of what we see in the media about refugees, migrants and emerging communities is portrayed through the prism of mainstream society. Heartlands 2019 has offered the opportunity for culturally and linguistically diverse youth to tell their own authentic stories using accessible digital tools,” said AMES Australia CEO Cath Scarth.

“As the largest refugee crisis in history gets even worse with more than 70 million people now displaced, the Heartlands project gives insight into some of the communities who have found a safe haven in Australia in recent years.

“The aim of the project is to transcend cultural barriers to reveal the hopes, dreams, challenges and everyday lives of people who make up our refugee communities,” she continued.

Iranian refugee Sara Kangarloo fled a brutal crackdown on student protestors in her homeland.

She says her artwork reflects the trauma of being separated from loved ones.

“I am safe here in Australia, but I still miss family members who are still at home. Many refuges feel pain of being apart from loved ones and my art represents this,” Ms Kangarloo said.

Heartlands 2019 will be at the Walker Street Gallery, in Dandenong, between July 4 and July 27.

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