In October last year I was offered the opportunity to work on a beautiful creative project with a group of Afghani women in Blacktown, and to finally see the vision of the project come to life has truly been a magical experience. I am thrilled to announce the imminent launch of Daneha (“Seeds” in English), a new exhibition opening on 5th July at The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Center.
Daneha explores the displacement of the Afghan community across the globe, and the cultivation of roots in foreign, unfamiliar soil. The exhibition is a multi-faceted artistic program made up of a visual arts exhibition, artist talks, musical performances and theatre featuring Persian and Afghani artists.
I was invited to work with the community group “Afghan Women on the Move” lead by Maryam Zahid to create an large scale spice installation and a series of art workshops with the outcome of featuring these artworks in the exhibition. The artworks created reflect individual hopes, dreams and seeding intentions for the participant’s new life in Australia.
It was a deeply moving experience for me to design a program that empowers women. I felt totally supported by the sacred feminine energy and loved the way everything seem to flow into place. The workshops happening during the winter solstice was not lost on me either!
All of the works are featured in the second gallery along with an interactive ‘tea room’ for the audience to enjoy and immerse themselves in. The installation Star Seed, made from spices found in the Afghan kitchen such as poppy seeds, turmeric, cardamon, paprika, dried mint and cinnamon, sits in the centre of the space. The aromas of the spices and the vibrant colours make a direct connection to the works in the main gallery; taking the viewer on a sensory journey. The installation itself is quite multi-layered in meaning. The eight pointed star is a symbol that can be found in almost every culture in the world and dates back to the Sumerian times. My intention is to link the symbol with both the ancient Goddess emblem of Innana/Ishtar, the elements and cardinal directions of a compass, highlighting our universal connection to nature, our notion of ‘home’ and most significantly to the empowerment of women.
An exhibition not to be missed! Please check out the Blacktown Arts Blog for full program details.
RSVP your ticket to the opening on 5 July here
Exhibition continues until 9 September.
Daneha (seeds)- featuring new works by Avan Anwar (Melbourne), Elyas Alavi (Adelaide), Zainab Haidariy (Germany), Nazanin Marashian (Sydney), Gerrie Mifsud (Sydney) and internationally acclaimed and Blacktown-based artist Khadim Ali.
Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Center, 78 Flushcombe Road, Blacktown
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission to the visual arts exhibition is free.