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"Living from a Suitcase"
comes to Holroyd

Project Officer: Cecilia Silva

Like other arts projects Speakout has been involved in, this project is a different form of advocacy. It works with the common language of art to express some of what is most important to the women we represent. This project is the result of the generosity and trust of the women who shared a little of their lives with us through this exhibition. Twenty-three women from Afghanistan, Algeria, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Korea, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Somaliland, Sudan and the former Yugoslavia, participated in the workshops we held in Holroyd. The results of these workshops are combined with an exhibition of art we held last year in Maitland, Wagga Wagga and Harris Park. Together they form what we hope will be a never ending and living testimony of migrant and refugee women in Australia.

The Living from Suitcase comes to Holroyd project was also a true example of community collaboration, with assistance from Holroyd Council. We are grateful to the Councillors for recognising the value of the project, and to the staff (particularly Lucy Macguire, Cinzia Guaraldi and Angela Pascua) for their facilitation with putting the vision into practice. Also we are grateful for the collaboration of Hewitt House Neighbourhood Centre (Liliana Ruti, Zohra Boulekraot and Nada Kerbage) and Nicholii Cottage Neighbourhood, Centre (Christina Walker, Sherry Bell and Kathy Beckton). Many thanks also go to Janet Mitsuji and Meiha Cheung for lending us their video equipment and to Vahid Vahed for his encouragement of our process. Speakout would also like to acknowledge the artistic contributions of Gemma Nardone (photography) and Farsin Yekta (video), as well as of course, our workshop facilitator and project coordinator, Cecilia Silva. It was an opportunity for women to share aspects of their lives, and through this, for all who come to their work, to better understand them, and their experiences as migrant and refugee women in Australia.