Artists and Storytellers
Mariam Abbas and Hedar Abadi are both award-winning artists from Iraq. Reaching beyond the visual arts realm, Mariam has written and performed her family's story of migration as part of the StorySlam project at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in 2019. Mariam will be sharing her story while Hedar, her dad, delights the audience with intricate live sketching in pastels and charcoal.
Assefa Bekele is a respected community leader and works as a multicultural liaison officer with NSW Police. After growing up in a village in Ethiopia, Assefa moved to Greece to complete his degree in engineering, then migrated to Australia in 1988 while civil war was raging in his home country. Assefa and his grandson will tell their story of intergenerational migration.
Uncle Wes Marne is a Bigambul man and community Elder who has lived in Mt Druitt, Sydney for the past 45 years. When he was nine-years-old, the government removed his family from tribal lands in Stanthorpe Hills and took them to Deadbird Mission, Queensland.
Uncles Wes is committed to sharing the traditional knowledge of his grandfather's creation and dreaming stories, and his personal experiences of his life as an Aboriginal man over the last century.
Asma Nayim Ullah is a young emerging storyteller who just graduated high school. Asma is a Rohingya refugee from Myanmar who came to Australia by boat in 2013 at the age of 10. Asma recently began to write to cope with the trauma of migration and her story depicts her experience as a young Rohingya immigrant, a community which has been persecuted for decades.
Maryam Zahid is an emerging playwright and activist who fled Afghanistan at the age of 20 and came to Australia as a refugee. She now creates work focused on gender, women and the displacement of Afghan diaspora.
Maryam’s play, The Good Woman, explores the oppression of Afghan women, and questions their traditional roles. In 2019, Maryam was named Blacktown City Woman of the Year.
Hani Abdile is an award-winning writer and spoken word poet. Hani was forced to leave her home country of Somalia and came to Australia by boat seeking protection in 2014. During her 11 months in immigration detention on Christmas Island, Abdile found healing in poetry and developed a love of writing. She will share excerpts of her book, I Will Rise, as well as her latest poetry work.
Emmanuel Asante is a young visual artist who uses mixed media drawn from a range of cultural settings. His practice critically examines and reflects on his own identity as a young Ghanaian immigrant, incorporating traditional African motifs, metaphors and symbols to evoke a unique visual aesthetic to tell a story.
Teivao Pupu Tamariki is of Cook Islander Māori heritage, who works in wood carving, textile design, mural and street art. His work reflects his cultural identity and tells his ancestral stories from Tahiti to Aotearoa to Blacktown. Integral to Teivao’s practice is his interactions with visitors as he explains the deep significance of his ancestral stories and the meanings of the symbols he uses in his artwork and in the tattoos on his own body.
Aurora Choralis are a Sydney-based chamber choir, comprised of members from diverse backgrounds and professions, all with a shared passion for musical excellence. With diamond-like clarity and rich tones, Aurora Choralis present the best of choral music from the Renaissance to the present day.
Cook Islands Reo Manea are elders from Blacktown and the Western Sydney community who gather to share culture and stories through music. Be lifted by the sounds of this vocal and ukulele ensemble as they share songs from their island homelands to Australian shores.
Ehab Hadi, Sinan Bayood and Dany Sequeira are an unmistakable trio that take audiences through the rich sounds of Arabic music. Their wide repertoire includes folkloric and traditional Iraqi songs, as well as some with a contemporary tinge.
Gii means heart from the Gamillaroi people of the New England area. Sharing stories of life, love and connection to history and land through an audio feast of guitar, banjo, ukulele, violin and harmonies, Gii will get people swaying, dancing and singing.
Karifi showcase the diverse cultures of Ghana through drumming, chant, dance and ritual. This intergenerational ensemble is led by community elder Yaw Derkyi, who has been performing and promoting music and dance for over 40 years. Karifi will make you smile, tap your feet and warm your heart.
Daisy Montalvo is a writer, director and filmmaker, who will produce and direct the artists and musicians. A Mount Druitt local, Daisy's parents immigrated to Australia from El Salvador in the late 1980s. Their experiences gave her personal insight into the reality of leaving behind family, friends, familiar language and culture to seek safety and new opportunities.