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Presented by Louis Joel Art & Community Centre in partnership with Multicultural Arts Victoria

I Did Not Choose to be a Refugee

A Visual Art Exhibition by Michael Adonai

Saturday 14 June - Friday 27 June
Launch Friday 13 June 7pm
Louis Joel Arts & Community Centre - 5 Sargood Street, Altona
Gallery Hours: 10am to 4pm, Open 7 Days
FREE

Download Launch Invitation | Download Flyer

Commemorating World Refugee Day, I Did Not Choose to be a Refugee reflects upon Eritrean artist, Michael Adonai’s, journey and experience fleeing his homeland of Eritrea, to his settlement in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

Through the exhibition Adonai reflects and pays tribute to the Lampedusa boat tragedy that claimed the lives of 359 asylum seekers on the 3rd of October 2013.

Many of the victims were Eritrean, who had fled their country on a dangerous journey across the Sahara Desert where the risks of death, rape and torture were common place.

In particular the exhibition pays homage to an Eritrean woman, seven months pregnant, who prematurely gave birth to a baby boy while drowning. When rescue divers pulled them from the sea-bed, the mother and baby were still connected by the umbilical cord.

Adonai gives voice to the many victims who are forced to take such perilous journeys, risking their own, and their children’s lives for the chance of safety and a life free from persecution.

Through his fine brush strokes and traditional Coptic Art techniques he paints their silent cries; "I did not choose to endanger my unborn baby's life, I did not choose to face an unpredictable future, I did not choose to be a refugee".

As one of the most celebrated contemporary Eritrean artists, with over 30 years’ experience, including international showings and accolades, Adonai is proud to present his first solo exhibition in Australia since his arrival in November 2012.

I Did Not Choose to be a Refugee is presented as part of Emerge Festival 2014, which presents new refugee and emerging artists who have recently settled in Australia. From May 17 - July 5, Multicultural Arts Victoria will celebrate the 11th anniversary of Emerge Festival, showcasing talented artists from Melbourne’s emerging refugee communities and the diverse cultures that have woven colourful and intricate patterns into the identity of our unique city.

Go to the full Emerge Festival program.

Media queries

Jess Fairfax, Project Officer Multicultural Arts Victoria, projects@multiculturalarts.com.au Tel: (03) 9188 3681