born 1975 Liverpool, UK
Lives and works Sydney, Australia
Refugee Art Project founded in 2010
Many otherwise untold stories find expression through drawings and watercolours made by refugees at Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney. Their art works are gathered together as part of the Refugee Art Project. Some works have been made using foodstuffs, including instant coffee mixed with water, due to a lack of access to art materials. Made by largely untrained artists, from a range of cultural backgrounds, the works constitute a collective platform from which to speak. They are also materially inventive.
Sydney artist Safdar Ahmed’s online graphic novel, Villawood: notes from an immigration detention centre (2015-16), contextualises the project and gives rare insight into daily life at the Centre, the experiences of its inhabitants and their stories. Also featured in this display are Ahmed’s sketchbooks, drawings, and various zines that he has made himself or with Refugee Art Project, which he co-founded in 2006.