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.
Bamiyarra Not So Still(s) was launched on 3 August 2012 at Signal. We estimated around 120 people turned up to celebrate the culmination of year’s work with two teams of young Hazara working in Melbourne and Kabul. Special guests included Councillor Ken Ong and author Najaf Mazari.
Here’s a few snaps from the install of the exhibition and its subsequent launch.
Poems are invaluable to the Hazara. Many young are taught a number of quatrains when young and carry the tradition of re-telling them into their elder years. Some, like Aziz Fayaz, are prolific poets. This, one of Aziz’s poems, a Hazara based in Kabul, has become increasingly important to Bamiyarra and is featured in the Not So Still(s) exhibition.
Consume me FISH! All my body parts
I am country-less, homeless and I have no one.
I have no heart, it is left behind
Consume my limbs that are remaining
Gave my heart to this world, what has it done?
Entered the sea, what has it done?
Grief took my livelihood away
Generosity of the sea took half of my life away.
My shovel and tools are left behind
Yet my foot-prints evoke memories of me.
Oh sea! Hear my heartache
You do not have a heart to feel my pain.
There is no one to wish me farewell
There is no eye awaiting my return.
Consume parts of my body
My eyes, ears, kidneys and head.
My child will live with my memories
In my absence, he will find comfort in them.
Worry not sea, long live your creatures
Long live the rocks and stones that have replaced my heart.
Visible are the reptile bite-marks on my body
Shattered are my life long hopes and dreams.
This is what happened, when I gave my heart to the sea
Look at me and my lifeless body.
No more is there, life in my body
No more are there, tears in my eyes.
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.
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.