Join tonight’s screening of Go Back to Where You Came From at Bella Union and be part of the final night’s action! Arts in Action and Amnesty International welcomes and thanks the amazing line up of guests and panellists giving of their time and expertise to be part of this event. Please check out their profiles and visit their websites for more information about their skills, talents and the important work they do in making a difference to the arts and human rights communities.
PERFORMERS & ARTISTS (Pre Screening Entertainment)
Damian Callinan is one of the most prolific, versatile and creative comic artists working in Australia today. He is an award-winning standup comic, TV sketch show star, broadcaster, director, actor and writer. Damian delights in creating and inhabiting off beat landscapes of ridiculous but fully realised, sympathetic characters. From Troy Carrington, the Rousseau-quoting country football coach, to “Damo”, a schoolteacher stranded mute and stupid in full Bo-Peep costume, Damian’s worlds are bent, sharply observed and hilarious. His media credits include Spicks n Specks, Skithouse, The Wedge, Comedy Slapdown, Melbourne Comedy Festival Gala, Before The Game, The Fat and various guest spots and co-hostings on Triple J, Mix FM and ABC Local Radio. Meanwhile he works consistently in the corporate sector and is an accomplished comic actor, appearing in productions including the Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), in venues from the Sydney Opera House to the Victorian Arts Centre.
Benjamin Solah is a writer, poet and refugee activist whose poetry often focuses on the plight of refugees trying to seek asylum in Australia and when they languish in detention here. His latest suite of poetry ‘Broken Bodies’ draws on true stories of refugees broken by the Australian government’s cruel policies. www.facebook.com/b.solah
Desh Balasubramaniam – Founder/Director at Ondru Arts. Ondru is a rising movement of arts & literature. Desh founded Ondru June 2009. He focuses on developing and realising art projects as well as driving the strategic direction of Ondru. Voiceless Journeys is a multi-art project that aims to celebrate the cultural diversity and raise awareness about the journey, struggle, survival and achievements of people from diverse backgrounds who had left their countries as a result of internal problems or conflicts to make their life in Australia; people who positively shape our communities. Series of 101 evocative black and white photographic portraits will be enlarged and be exhibited around the streets of Melbourne. The project will include a short documentary film, a print publication, a projection display and will be supported through the Ondru website where the portraits and the individual stories will be shared.
PANEL SPEAKERS (Post Screening Discussion)
John Gulzari is a human rights activist based in Dandenong and is the Secretary of Shamama, a Hazara refugee organisation. John has 10 years experience in community welfare, business, Finance and investment, has started many successful businesses over the years, like real estate, finance, transport and driving school. Student of politics, Gulzari is running for Dandenong council election 2012 (Red Gum Ward). Watch Success Story of a Refugee
Sophie Dutertre currently manages a State Government funded project (Pathways to Participation) for the ASRC, developing a wrap-around model of support to asylum seekers in training and employment. She previously had fifteen years’ experience in international development and the community sector in Australia and the developing world, including the Pacific region, South Africa and the Thai-Burma border. She has worked extensively with asylum seekers and refugees around employment and education, public health and youth issues. Sophie has a Bachelor of Law and post graduate qualifications in Journalism and Counselling.
Samantha Ratnam – Samantha Ratnam is a Greens candidate for the Moreland City Council elections 2012. She is a social worker who currently works in settlement services for newly arrived communities and also sits on the board of the Hotham Mission Asylum Seeker Project.