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18 October – 24 November

Home 2018 is an exhibition for artists with an asylum seeker and refugee background. The project aims to recognise and nurture the talents of refugee and newly-arrived artists and provide them with opportunities to develop professional pathways in the creative arts sector.

The exhibition showcases artists as artists, rather than framing their art practice within the bounds of their refugee story. Their artwork may or may not speak about the refugee experience. Instead their works reflect their interests as artists.

The aim is to encourage each to continue their art practice despite the everyday issues that arise when building a new life in a new culture. To further their development and accelerate their access to Australian art opportunities, the artists in Home have been provided with a mentor. The mentors assist the artists with both creative and art industry development advice. In 2018, the mentors are Gary Willis, Rubaba Haider and Mohamed Abumeis. Each artist has also been awarded $1,000 courtesy of IKEA Springvale to assist with the preparation of their artworks for this exhibition.

The City of Greater Dandenong is now officially recognised as Australia’s most culturally diverse city. It is a vibrant and welcoming place and for many refugees and asylum seekers is the first place they call home after arriving in Australia. It is for this reason Home seems like a fitting title for an exhibition which celebrates the positive influence refugees continue to have in our community and others.

Home will be on exhibition at Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre from Thursday 18 October – Saturday 24 November 2018.

Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre is open to the public Tuesday to Friday, 11am–5pm and Saturday, 11am–3pm during exhibitions and events (closed public holidays).


 Exhibition opening Exhibition Dates IKEA Springvale Events Facebook Event

About the Artists

Zia Atahi

Zia Atahi

Zia Atahi’s photographs allow a space of contemplation for the viewer and evokes ideas of safety, beauty and identity. These are poetic pictures that invite the audience to question who these children are, where they are coming from and where they are going to. Are they escaping something or are they in their happy place?

The ambiguity in these images is powerful. There is space for both the subject and the viewer to enter the space and lose time in wonder of their own thoughts and interpretations. These images ask us to consider what a home is and what a home means to different people.

Bio: Zia was born in Afghanistan of Hazara background but spent most of his formative years in Pakistan. He moved to Australia in 2005 and it is here that his love of photography grew. He studied photography in Australia and now lives in Cranbourne North, a suburb in Melbourne’s outer south east.

Tadros Hanna

Architectural space is a prominent theme in Tadros’ paintings. The abstract paintings have an energy and place human figures in architectural landscapes . Tadros’ works are complex, combining iconography with strong connections to the myths and spiritual traditions of Egypt. The vibrant colours in his works suggest a yearning for freedom and expression.

Bio: Tadros Hanna studied fine arts in Egypt’s capital city Cairo and worked as an architect and interior designer for 20 years. Since moving to Melbourne he has been drawn back to his first love- painting. He currently facilitates art classes at ASRC and St. Alban’s Community Hub.

Tadros Hanna

Elyas Alavi

Elyas Alavi is a poet and visual artist. Elyas’ works explore many social justice including displacement, exile, gender, separation and human nature. The emotional tumult of living in a war zone and then leaving his country as a refugee, impacts deeply on Elyas’ visual art work. As a poet, Elyas has published 3 poetry books in Iran and Afghanistan.

Bio: Elyas Alavi is based in Adelaide, South Australia. Born in Daikundi, Afghanistan, Elyas moved to Iran as a child to escape conflict in his homeland. In late 2007 Elyas moved to Australia as refugee at risk. Elyas completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) in 2012, specialising in painting, and is currently undertaking a Masters by Research (Visual Arts) at the University of South Australia.

Mirwais Janbaz

Mirwais has been making artworks for nine years, using a technique called pyrography. Traditional and mythical images are burnt into the grain of a piece of timber providing a new interpretation of Afghani stories and myths. He is also planning a series of works inspired by Australian stories.

Bio: Mirwais Janbaz was born in Afghanistan but was forced to leave his country due to war. He became a refugee in Pakistan where he remained and worked as a journalist. Mirwais arrived in Australia in 2018 and now lives in South Eastern Melbourne.

Mirwais Janbaz
Lobsang Dhoyou Rongtsang

Lobsang Dhoyou Rongtsang

Lobsang is a maker of traditional Tibetan Cham masks. Masks are used to transform identity in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. These masks often have an enraged or menacing look, designed to evoke terror and scare away evil spirits. 

Often performed in the central courtyard of a monastery, the masks are worn during a dance called the Cham, performed by monks and nuns. The more terrifying the mask, the more effective they are and monks and nuns can then dedicate more of their time to meditation and prayer. 

Bio: Lobsang Dhoyou is a master mask maker, born in Kham, Tibet. Lobsang is an ex-monk in exile living in Melbourne.  After fleeing to India from China in 1992, Lobsang studied under the guidance of Venerable Kalsang Dorjee, the chief sculptor of the Tibetan Martyrs Memorial.

Amir Tehrani

Amir Tehrani’s recent work explores how humans are connected both physically and emotionally, especially in the fragmented world we now often find ourselves. The artworks explore the idea of trying to find connections and stay connected, despite the constant pressures of life and society trying to tear those connected tins apart.

The work is inspired by Tehrani’s own very personal journey where he was forced to cut ties with one place and establish new roots in another. As a symbol of this his works take on a thread-like appearance featuring surreal psychological figures.

Bio: Born and raised in Teheran, Iran, Amir Tehrani developed an interest in art and design from his father who was a jeweller. After completing the Bachelor degree in Architecture at Azad Islam University, Amir worked with architectural and building companies in Iran. Since arriving in Australia in 2013, Amir renewed his interest in art. He taught art classes at the Asylum Resource Centre in Dandenong and was awarded a scholarship to study visual art at Swinburne University in 2017.

Amir Tehrani
     Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre      IKEA Home 2018 is proudly
supported by IKEA Springvale


Image credits: (Top to Bottom) Zia Atahi Untitled 2017. Digital image, dimensions variable. Tadros Hanna Places and spaces from Egypt 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 152 x 122 cm. Elyas Alavi Installation view of Mohammad Jaan 2017, video installation, dimensions variable. Mirwais Janbaz Untitled 2018. Pyrography on marine ply, 80 x 37cm. Lobsang Dhoyou Rongtsang Traditional Buddhist masks 2018. Mixed media, dimensions variable. Amir Tehrani Threads II 2018. Drypoint on paper, 30 x 40 cm. Courtesy of the artist.