Armidale’s Ezidi residents show their creativity at a new exhibition opening at NERAM on Saturday afternoon.
Stories Connect, co-ordinator Sophie Masson explained, is a big project the New England Writers’ Centre has run for several months to make the refugees feel welcome and help them integrate.
“It encourages creative expression and community connections between the newly-resettled Ezidi refugee families and the broader Armidale community,” Ms Masson said.
NEWC held creative workshops in schools and community centres to produce art, written work, and music.
They also commissioned two Ezidi photographers, Khalid Adi and Waleed Alalali, to create photo-narratives of their new lives in Armidale – including the birth of Waleed’s first child in August.
Both Khalid and Waleed were very keen to reach out to the wider community,” Ms Masson said. “These are young people in their twenties; they are concentrated on things which seem ordinary but are in fact very precious to them.”
The public can see Messrs Adi and Alalali’s photographs on Saturday afternoon. A documentary about Stories Connect by Ms Masson’s son Xavier Masson-Leach, a Sydney film-maker, will premiere.
The exhibition also features portrait photographs by NEGS student Zara Petersen; a slideshow of photographs from the workshops; and a cityscape by Drummond Primary School students inspired by one of Ms Masson’s children’s books.
Ms Masson invited the public to come to the opening. “The Ezidi people are very outgoing and friendly, and want to contribute to the Armidale community.”
Ezidi food will also be served.
The opening starts at 2pm on Saturday; the exhibition runs until Wednesday, December 4.
Stories Connect was supported by Regional Arts NSW, the NSW Government, Settlement Services International, and Armidale Regional Council