Women asserting identity


Through Our Eyes
Casula Powerhouse, November 13-26
Sponsored by Liverpool Migrant Resource Centre Multicultural Arts Project
Reviewed by Sujatha Fernandes
Through Our Eyes, exhibiting in Sydney's south-west, was organised by professional female artists. It includes diverse forms of artwork including photography, painting, ceramics and sculpture. The artists come from a range of countries including Palestine, Chile, Argentina, Scotland, the Philippines and Iraq. One theme that stands out is the need to assert one's identity and native culture. Chilean artist Olga Itierra says: "The migrant experience, the separation of family and culture compelled me to study craft. As I studied, a passion was wakened which allowed me to transform the sadness, the nostalgia, into works of art that reflect my culture, particularly with the indigenous people of my native country." The paintings of Ibtihal Samarayi from Iraq represent the frustration of refugees awaiting relocation. One of her pieces, called "Waiting", shows a refugee in a windowless room waiting for a visa. Samarayi's work is based on her own experience; she and her husband waited in Turkey for three years, renting accommodation in the poorest part of Istanbul, until they were accepted by Australia as refugees. The artists also use their work to express feminist and women-focussed issues. Scottish-born Fiona Livingstone, for example, uses optical illusion and representation in her work, playing with ideas of femininity and sexual politics. For more information call Rosarela Meza on (02) 601 3788. 255D>

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