In a strange land: How does culture survive when you can’t go home
Presented by Arts House
as part of
Refuge 2019: Displacement
Sun 1 Sep, 10.30am
Free, booking required
A Welcome to Country ceremony will be held at 10.30am
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St,
Auslan interpreter available Sat 31 Aug and Sun 1 Sep
How can people whose lands are disappearing due to mining, war and climate change maintain a lifeline to their cultures?
Indigenous Australian’s have survived, evolved and resisted over 200 years of displacement. In this strange land, First Nations people offer guidance to newly arrived communities who are navigating the challenge of preserving and practising culture in an unfamiliar landscape. Through this shared history, communities from around the world come together, offering stories of survival and resilience.
Omid Tofighian, American University in Cairo/UNSW
Uncle Larry Walsh, Taungurung elder / Storyteller
Aseel Tayah, Palestinian Performer/ Vocalist/ Installation Artist and Activist
Omid Tofighian is an award-winning lecturer, researcher and community advocate, combining philosophy with interests in citizen media, popular culture, displacement and discrimination. He is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature, American University in Cairo; Adjunct Lecturer in the School of the Arts and Media, UNSW; Honorary Research Associate for the Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney; faculty at Iran Academia; and campaign manager for Why Is My Curriculum White? – Australasia. His published works include Myth and Philosophy in Platonic Dialogues (Palgrave 2016); he is the translator of Behrouz Boochani’s multi-award winning book No Friend but the Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison (Picador 2018); and co-editor of ‘Refugee Filmmaking’, Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media (Winter 2019).
Uncle Larry Walsh is a local Aboriginal cultural leader and storyteller. He particularly loves working with the younger generation as he sees them as the torch-bearers of the future. Inspired by his local Aboriginal community, plus his own Kulin ancestral blood connections to his country, Uncle is one of the only senior Elders in Melbourne who focuses specifically on storytelling, ensuring the cultural continuity of his ancient oral traditions. Uncle Larry sees his focus being on the oral tradition, the story – as an important expression and make-up of Aboriginal culture. He wishes to display that Aboriginal people live as much in the modern world as intimately as they are connected to their past.
Aseel Tayah is a Palestinian Artist who was born under occupation in Jerusalem. Aseel’s life encouraged her to make art that represents what Arab Muslim women face in this world. For her, art is an act of resistance and a tool to survive. Her main focus is empowering women through art. As the first artist in her community, she initiated children and youth platforms to challenge the way people think about art. She is a creative director, art producer, and installation artist that shares her life experience in leadership and community development. She creates an interactive experience which invites the audience to participate by the way she designs her space, body and vocal presence.
In a strange land: How does culture survive when you can’t go home is a session of the North Melbourne School of Displacement
Sat 31 Aug
10.30am Over our heads: Housing and homelessness
1.30pm Lost for words: Displacement through enforced and prioritised language
North Melbourne School of Displacement by artist Keg de Souza has been co-programmed with Wirlomin Noongar collaborator Claire G. Coleman
Supported by – The City of Melbourne through Arts House. Redfern School of Displacement was first presented as part of the 20th Biennale of Sydney (2016)
Image by – Document Photography