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Media Release: Photo exhibition highlights rich cultures of refugee communities

5 June 20150 comments

A stunning new photographic exhibition offers a unique window into the lives and stories of some of Australia’s newest and oldest refugee communities.

The 2015 Heartlands Photographic Exhibition, which focuses on four diverse communities across the nation, opened at the Footscray Community Arts Centre today.

Titled ‘Seeking Safety’ and commissioned by settlement agency AMES, it transcends cultural barriers to reveal the hopes, dreams, hardships and everyday lives of several refugee groups across Australia.

In a series of stunning images, award-winning lensman Barat Ali Batoor has captured the essence of the Burmese Karen community in Werribee and at Nhill, in Western Victoria; photographer Abdul Ibrahim has recorded the vibrant life of the Somali community in Carlton.

International photographer Conor Ashleigh presents a unique view of the South Sudanese communities in Sydney and Newcastle; while, Andy Drewitt, a photographer and journalist, has collected compelling images of communities of post-war refugees from Europe.

AMES CEO Cath Scarth said the exhibition was aimed at starting an important conversation about our perceptions of refugees.

“This year we are witnessing the largest global refugee crisis since the end of World War II with more than 51 million people displaced,” Ms Scarth said.

“The Heartlands exhibition gives visual insights into some of the communities who have sought a safe haven in Australia over the past six decades.

“I think it should remind people that many of us living here in Australia, at some point, came from somewhere else,” Ms Scarth said.

Exhibition dates and locations:

Venue: Footscray Community Arts Centre, 45 Moreland St Footscray
Dates: Thursday 4th June – Sunday 28th June

Venue: The Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne
Dates: Monday 29th June – Sunday 5th July

Venue: Werribee Plaza Library, Hearths Rd & Derrimut Rd, Werribee
Dates: Monday 6th July – Friday 31st July

Venue: Point Cook Community Centre, 1-21 Cheetham St, Point Cook
Dates:  Tuesday 7th July – Friday 31st July

Venue: Walker St Gallery, Cnr Walker & Robinsons St, Dandenong
Dates:  Thursday 6th August – Monday 31st September


About AMES
AMES is the leading provider of humanitarian settlement, education, training and employment services to refugees, asylum seekers and newly arrived migrants in Victoria.

A statutory authority of the Victorian Government, the organisation manages a range of federal and state government contracts including Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS), the Adult Migrant English program (AMEP) General Services and Distance Learning programs; and Jobactive employment services (JSA).

For images, interviews and more information please contact AMES Media Advisor, Laurie Nowell at or  9938 4031 or 0498 196 500.