Sunday, February 23, 2014

Oasis Wimmera Riverside Picnic 2014

The Riverside Oasis Wimmera Picnic 2014 was a huge success! Lots of WOW artists and their families turned up for an afternoon riverside picnic at my place, situated on the edge of the Little Desert and Dimboola. Perfect weather, fine multicultural food on offer, two boats, one floating mattress, one floating yoga ball, a jetty = plenty of laughing, squealing, jumping, diving, swimming, boating, eating, chatting, photographing and mingling...

For the final stage of the picnic, I presented "Certificates of Appreciation" to the WOW artists, awards issued by Horsham Regional City Council. I took the opportunity to talk about the dream of ending mandatory detention in Australia, about the Light the Dark vigil going on all over Australia tonight for Reza Berati, who was killed last week in our detention centre on Manus Island, and for the 63 unprotected asylum seekers who suffered injuries there as well. I talked about the continual need for diversity, tolerance and cultural education in Australia...and the urgent need to stop the current government from continuing their atrocious treatment of asylum seekers who are fleeing from terrible home situations to find safety. I thanked everyone for attending and making the picnic a great celebration, and expressed my desire for more CALD collaborative projects in the future. 
More photos of our picnic coming soon from the Dimboola Courier.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Oasis Wimmera

We have a WOW update on Page 9 of the Oasis Wimera Spring 2013 newsletter. Oasis Wimmera is a fantastic organisation, founded and chaired by Sujatha Umakanthan in Horsham. Sujatha is the mother of Madhu Annathurai, WOW artist. Click on the newsletter link, you can catch up on what's happening with the culturally diverse community in Horsham and surrounding areas. I met up with some of the WOW artists at the Oasis potluck dinner held on Saturday 31st August, 2013. It was amazing! I have never sampled so many delicious and exotic dishes at the one sitting before, not on a par with this one. Beautiful friendly people and a warm, fun atmosphere... this night was a huge success. I had a great night, and feel lucky that I was there, to be introduced to more members of the culturally diverse community of Horsham.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The WOW Launch - Saturday 22nd June 2013

Back row: (LtoR) Harrison Htoo Po Kyaut, Bernad Ngendakumana, Mars Drum, Shauna Stringer, Yasmin Harradine
Middle row: Abraham Rajput, Hozaira Ahmad, Madhu Annathurai, P'Leah Htoo Po Kyaut, Buket Akiz, Yaren Akiz
Front row:  Soe Son Di Shwe Ta Lee, Sarah Htoo Po Kyaut
Absent: Yvonne Ndayikeze, Tina Kalenzo, Sentia Kamikaze 
Bernad Ngendakumana quotes: "Life is a journey. I'm glad it has brought me to Horsham"  
This has been installed now in stainless steel at the entrance to the library.

Madhu Annathurai, stunning in her Tamil dress: 
"Two countries so far apart, Yet both are homes in my heart"
Soe Son Di, looking so fabulous in her traditional Karen dress: 
"I know I belong when I feel calm and safe. I feel safe in Horsham"
Yaren Akiz, whose "My house is beautiful. My heart is warm. I love it here." is now installed on a seat in Firebrace St. There I am trying to remember exactly how Yaren's piece goes...
P'Leah Htoo Po Kyaut poses in her traditional Karen dress beside her seat: "In my world, every day, everybody would greet each other with a smile"
How could anyone not smile back at P'Leah?
We will be taking more photos of the WOW writers beside their work as it is installed around Horsham.... Watch out for Buket, Sarah, Harrison,Tina, Shauna, Bernad, Yasmin and Yvonne.
Abraham Rajput with his dad, Magbool Ahmad, stand in front of Abraham's quotation on the Army Lane wall: "I remember my talent when I come here". Councillor Mark Radford was so impressed with Abraham's discovery that he has offered to personally pay for a new plaque to be made up with Abraham's words on it, and installed on a seat in Firebrace St.
Yasmin Harradine takes the microphone to read out her quotation:"I love learning about my culture", which graces the front of the Horsham library in stainless steel. Yasmin gave an important speech at the launch, welcoming all recent migrants in the WOW group and their families to Horsham. It was a very special and significant moment in Horsham's history, I think. Here are her words:
Hi, my name is Yasmin Harradine, I am Indigenous, and I am Wotjobaluk.
I was born in Horsham, the country of my ancestors.
I ‘belong to this land’ of the Wotjobaluk, the river, the trees, the sky and the air that we all share. 
I would like to welcome everyone here today to the launch of the WoW Project. I have made many friends with different cultural backgrounds during the WoW project, I WELCOME YOU and YOUR FAMILIES. 
Delki njaui means good day in Wergaia the language of my people.

Thank-you to Councillor Mark Radford and John Martin for their photos.

Friday, June 21, 2013


::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: The Writing on the Walls project is being launched tomorrow at 11a.m. in Army Lane, Horsham . That's Saturday the 22nd June 2013. See you there. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: 

WOW Installations

 Work begins on installing Buket Akiz's written piece on the side wall of the library. It's a difficult and slow process, and we realise that this installation process of all of the WOW poetry will not be finished in just a couple of days as estimated in the original plan. Some bricks are denser than other bricks. These ones on the library wall are particularly dense.

There is another line to this couplet by Buket Akiz, it will be installed next week if all goes well with Plan B. 
Looks great, doesn't it?
Already there have been a lot of positive comments about it from members of Horsham's public.

Below are some more images of the library car-park WOW wall, which looks so fabulous in the morning sunlight. I know I've posted some detailed images of this wall up already, but the sunlight makes such a difference, the colours are really fantastic!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Horsham Library Wall - Part 2

Session 2 on the Horsham Library Wall, and it's full already! This week, the WOW team focused on enhancing the wall: filling the gaps, colouring, and adding final messages. 
We had Shauna Stringer join us again this week, to add the Irish flavour to the library wall, as she did on the Army Lane wall. 
Congratulations to the WOW team, it's getting pretty cold after 5pm these days, but the WOW walls continue! Army Lane was enhanced on Tuesday, Library wall Thursday. 
We have one more wall-writing session at Army Lane next Tuesday, to make it look as bright and beautiful as possible for the launch. Come on down to Cafe Thipatiy next Saturday, 22nd June, at 11am. Meet the WOW writers and their families, come on a walking tour of the installed WOW words around the CBD, and enjoy some food catered by the wonderful Cafe Thipatiy staff.
Shauna Stringer asks us how we are in Irish.

Harrison and P'Leah entertain us with a song and dance, Soe Son Di joining in. The spirits are always very high at the WOW wall writing sessions, it's always a good laugh. Watch this space for a follow up video clip showing the song in action.