safdarnama has been writing some great content about the Refugee Art Project on his blog. Unfortunately, our reblog function hasn’t been working quite so well, so here is a reproduction of his posts which can be found here.
The Refugee Art Project women’s and children’s zines
At the Other Worlds Zine fair, we launched some new refugee art project zines, including a special women’s issue and one made with children of a refugee background at Fairfield High School.
The women’s zine featured the artwork and writing of refugee women from the Villawood detention centre and our weekly art workshop in Parramatta. Our workshops seek to provide refugee women with opportunities for creative self-expression, a time to socialise and for those who live in the community, a chance to create a sense of belonging.
The women’s issue is by far the most popular zine we have done so far. We ordered about 60 copies and at the end of the fair there were only a small handful of them left.
The young person’s issue featured wonderful comics and portraits made by children and young people of a refugee background in Western Sydney, in partnership with Fairfield High School.
For young people, the troubles of leaving their home and arriving in a new world can be particularly difficult. Their struggle to learn a new language, understand new cultural norms and negotiate familial pressures were poured into this zine in stories that capture their innocence and strength.
The zine is made up of comics and portraits by kids aged 15 to 16, in a workshop facilitated by our colleague, a high school arts teacher.
Their comics were instructed by earlier Refugee Art Project zines, made with people inside the Villawood detention centre. Those zines, which also contained short comics about the struggle of refugees in detention, motivated the students to draw stories about their own lives. They were animated by images of birds in flight, figures trapped in cells and with chains on their feet, and brought such imagery into their own work.
The zine thus represents a link between refugees in detention and young people in the community.
Our high school art teacher and I had a great day at the High Schools in Refugee Week, to officially launch the zine. The school ordered 100 copies for their own use, and each child who participated in the class got their own copy.
The last image is one of my favorite comics from the zine.