A media arts project that connected young Hazara from refugee backgrounds in Melbourne, Australia, to their home lands and separated communities. Bamiyarra was a Home Lands v2 project initiated by the Cultural Development Network, La Trobe and Swinburne Universities and the City of Melbourne.
Poetry links Hazara, considered the most persecuted ethnic minority in Afghanistan, to their culture, their history, to country, to each other. In former times revered verses, or quatrains, were shared from one generation to the next. Hazara’s of today are more than likely to text their poems to each other, as did Aziz Fayaz, when he wrote the poem featured in this installation, a response to the many Hazara who had lost their lives, desperate to seek asylum from persecution, on boats that had sunk in the worlds oceans.
Bamiyarra was a Home Lands v2 project, a collaboration with City of Melbourne, the Cultural Development Network, Swinburne and LaTrobe Universities.
July 2012 was our final month of workshops leading up to the Not So Still(s) exhibition at Signal, which opened 3 August 2012, on Northbank, Melbourne. Workshops were led by Melbourne artists and film-makers, mentoring the Bamiyarra team in documentary production, photo essay techniques, video and sound installation.
Our special guest is Najaf Mazari, author of The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif and co-author of The Honey Thief.
Bamiyarra Not So Still(s) is presented by Home Lands v2, a collaboration between La Trobe University, Swinburne University, City of Melbourne Arts and Participation Program and the Cultural Development Network. Home Lands is funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant, City of Melbourne and the Cultural Development Network.
Launch: Friday 3 August, 6:30pm, Signal, Flinders Walk, Northbank Exhibition: Saturday 4 August to Saturday 11 August, from 1pm to 5pm. Screenings commence after dark.
Five micro-docs were proposed for production. Two were completed in association with Youthworx Media as part of their inSite program.
Hope in Life
Hope In Life follows the aspirations of Hazara who sought asylum in Australia to pursue their education and arts practice, and how their ties to home land influences and sustain them regardless of the challenges they face.
The cultural history of Afghanistan’s most persecuted minority is one interwoven with the arts, from the Persian poetry they learn as children to reverence for the Buddhas of Bamiyan, monolithic sculptures their ancestors created in the 5th Century and destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. To bring these practices into modern times, Hazara artist, Fazil Hussain Mousavi, founded The Sketch Club in Quetta, to introduce young Hazara to the skills, techniques and history of painting.
The micro-doc, Between The Lines, follows the story of The Sketch Club from Quetta to the Artful Dodgers Gallery in Collingwood, where its first exhibition in Australia is hosted. Between The Lines is a story of young Hazara depicting the social circumstances of their country, the genocide of Hazara people and how their new found skills and art has helped them to express the complex issues of injustice and uncertainty, that has also connected them to and inspired Hazara youth who have sought asylum the world over.
Hazaragi culture is no where more accentuated than in a traditional wedding. Bringing together every facet of cultural life, from traditional music, clothing, food and ritual. A Hazaragi Wedding traces the events leading up to and throughout the wedding ceremony. A Hazaragi Wedding is underscored by traditional music, a collage of wedding photos and video, and of course the food, the celebration, mehmanies (public feasts) and dance.
Although young Hazara from refugee backgrounds in Melbourne have immersed themselves in education with high goals and aspirations they are never far from the issues they had left behind. Bamiyarra Reflections is a conversation between Hazara youth in Melbourne and Afghanistan exploring complex and challenging issues such as forced migration, youth suicide and drug abuse.
Interwoven with the opportunities found in Australia and the constraints still faced in Afhganistan, Bamiyarra Reflections describes the transformations taking place in the first generation of Hazara to receive an education in over 200 years.
In August 2011 we launched Bamiyarra, a project of Home Lands v2. The name combines the home of many Hazara, Bamiyan, and the Yarra River. The name connects their origins with their now home and for many, the river represents how they got here.
The trailer is a snap-shot of young Hazara in both Melbourne and abroad collaborating to produce a micro-docs series, a video installation, public screenings and exhibitions, mentored by media artists and creative producers.
Premier screening of two Bamiyarra micro-docs, Migration and Hope In Life, at the Emerge Film and Arts Festival presented by Multicultural Arts Victoria.
Migration is the story of a Hazara family that sought refuge in Australia, how the open sea both carried them here and afforded one of their sons a future in the surf. Hope In Life follows the aspirations of Hazara who sought asylum in Australia to pursue their education and arts practice, and how their ties to home land influences and sustain them regardless of the challenges they face.
The micro-docs were mentored in collaboration with Melbourne film-makers Penne Thornton and Naina Sen and produced by Andrew Garton.
Premier 6pm, Tuesday 3 July, Treasury Theatre, Melbourne.
Bamiyarra is a Home Lands v2 project – a unique concept that asks artists to collaborate with young Hazara to make art and engage in conversations about cultural origins and transformations, youth identity and aspirations.