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Youth Arts and Literature Exhibition opening night an inspirational success

28 September 2022

SMRC hosted the Youth Arts and Literature Exhibition opening night on Monday 26th October at local Connection Arts Space in Dandenong.

Around 20 extraordinary submissions were made from a diverse range of young people all showcasing a display of talent and commitment. The night saw local community and families showing their support and recognition for the artwork and exhibition. Under the theme of ‘GROUNDED’, we heard the emotional and inspiring stories and life journeys captured through literacy and art. The art will be proudly displayed at Connection Arts Space, 1-9 Walker St, Dandenong until 26th October.

SMRC would like to thank the judges, Connection Arts Space, Zart Art and Casey Cardinia Library for their support in making the exhibition a success.

The competition winners:

Adult Art Competition age 18-25

  • Naz Ahmadi
  • Fatima Sarmand

Adult Literature/ Writing Competition age 18-25

  • Asma Kakar

Junior Art Competition age 12-17

  • Abdullah Andalib
  • Nelofar Sarabi

Junior Literature/Writing Competition age 12-17

  • Gulsika Kakar

Evi, Ukraine

28 September 2022

Ievgeniia – or Evi as her friends call her – is passionate about using her connection to several cultures to bring happiness to others. Originally from Ukraine, she has been living in Australia for almost 10 years after living in Greece following her marriage. “Because it was the second time, I moved from another country, so I came, and I was already prepared.”

Her resilience to new environments pushed her to make friends and seek a career in an Aged Care facility right next door to her house. Years later, it was a social media interaction with SMRC where “[she] saw some Facebook posts, and then I started following, and then I found the course for bicultural workers.”

After completing her Introduction to Bicultural Language Work course, Evi successfully interviewed and was onboarded as an SMRC bicultural worker with the Enliven CALD Communities Taskforce. “I met a lot of people from different cultural backgrounds and learn some new stuff from them. And I heard a lot of stories, which is sometimes heartbroken. But I’m still unfamiliar to [some] culture. But that’s why you’re learning some new culture for you and then it’s better for connection.”

Evi continues to draw from her connection to culture. “Community Services is a bit more about communication. And it’s like, you’re supporting people who [are] left a bit behind because of some language barrier, especially people who just came, or elderly ones. So, you’re just helping them to be updated with all information.” Evi’s goal in life is to go with the flow. “It’s a little bit odd because my country, I’m from Ukraine, it’s a war there. So, part of my soul and I’m here, but mentally I’m there. With family. I’m just going day-by-day.”

Abdul, Ethiopia

21 September 2022

Abdul’s dream is to one day become a pilot. For the 14-year-old, travelling, speaking different languages, and experiencing diverse cultures would make for the perfect job. Abdul has been getting help with his homework at the SMRC Homework Club for the past year, so he can get the marks he’ll need for his dream career.  

Abdul is typing on his computer and smiles at the camera

Since arriving in Australia with his family in 2018, Abdul hasn’t wasted a moment, adding impressive English language skills to the Arabic he learnt while in Egypt en route to Australia, and two African dialects from his home of origin in Ethiopia.  

He says he’s doing well in Physics, but was falling behind in Maths, so the Homework Club provided a great opportunity to get some additional help. He says the program’s mentors are great at explaining how to solve a problem: “They’re not giving you answers. They’re showing you how you do it, so next time you won’t be stuck on the same question.” He says the mentor’s explanations are so helpful that “when I go to school I show off to my friend, ‘this is how you do it the easy way’ and they’re like that’s amazing and my friend gets impressed by it.” 

His attendance at the program is paying off back at school: “I was a bit behind on Maths but after I came here, I started catching up. My last test I got was 87, such a difference.” His grades are so good that he will be able to take on a VCE subject next year.  

Abdul says it’s not only help with homework that he gets when he attends the Club, but also friendship, advice and important life lessons from the experienced mentors.  

He hopes to one day volunteer with the program so he can help people who are new to Australia: “When you come here, and all things are in English, and you don’t know English … even though you know the subjects … it’s just too much. They just need something positive and someone to tell them it’s not all hopeless. I want to do that for someone else like me.” 

Harmony Canvas unveiled for International Day of Peace

21 September 2022

For many years, SMRC have collated and unveiled Harmony Portrait Canvases. This popular hands-on activity gives the community a chance to draw a self-portrait or an interpretation of someone else’s portrait. The project brought people together, fostered positive self-reflection and created some great conversations and deep connections between family and friends. It also allowed us at SMRC to connect with the community.

Surrounded by the vibrant sounds and activities of this years Refugee Week Event in June, SMRC staff were excited to once again encourage everyone’s artistic abilities and gather a wide variety of portraits.

Event attendee poses with portrait that his partner (photographing him) drew.

SMRC are proud to unveil the Harmony Canvas today on the UN International Day of Peace. The Canvas collates dozens of beautifully unique portraits drawn at the event and reminds us of the beauty in diversity.

2022 Harmony Canvas

Youth Arts and Literature Prize entries open

30 August 2022

After the success of SMRC’s 2020 youth week art and literature competition, the celebration of youth creativity has made a comeback for 2022.

Entries are now open to uncover and recognise talented young artists and writers in our region. The Prize is open to anyone aged between 12 and 25 years of age living within City of Greater Dandenong, City of Casey or the Shire of Cardinia.

This years theme is “GROUNDED” – what gives you a sense of belonging and feeling connected?

All entries will be displayed at an opening exhibition night from Monday 26th September to 14th October at local Connection Arts Space Gallery, 1/9 Walker St Dandenong.

Entries close 5pm Wednesday 14 September 2022

For more information contact:
Samira 0458 090 958, samiraf@smrc.org.au
or email: anwara@smrc.org.au

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