MercyCare case worker Jawid Musawer will reignite his inner artist to showcase the plight of refugees and asylum seekers as part of Refugee Week.
This year’s theme is ‘Unity – the way forward’. It calls on Australians to help build a more cohesive community following the isolation that many people endured during 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To mark the week-long event Jawid — who is based at MercyCare’s Cannington office — will draw the portraits of 10 refugees and asylum seekers, with the final artwork to be showcased in an art exhibit.
Each portrait will be accompanied by each person’s story.
“The purpose of this exhibition is to celebrate Refugee Week,” Jawid says.
“The name I have chosen for my exhibition is ‘Portraits of Hope’. I want to feature portraits which I’m going to draw and the subjects will have hopeful expressions.
“The participating clients will be writing down the captions for their portraits on what they are hoping for now they are in Australia.”
Jawid says his subjects are a mix of current and past clients who have been supported by MercyCare Multicultural Services
“At MercyCare we have the asylum seeker program, SRSS Status Resolution Support Service, and it’s a really unique one. We are the only provider in WA to provide this service for people who are seeking asylum here,” Jawid explains.
“Those clients are living in the community on bridging visas and they are waiting on the outcome of their protection application, we are helping them in terms of their welfare”.
“One of the clients I’m drawing who has exited the program, she and her husband own a caryard, selling cars. They’re very successful in their business – and this is something that we are so happy to see."
For Jawid, who immigrated to Australia from Afghanistan more than 10 years ago, Refugee Week is a cause close to his heart.
Each year, millions of people flee their home country in fear of their lives and in search of a better life.
Asylum Seekers who enter Australia on the Humanitarian program not only suffered persecution and multiple losses in their home country but have high hopes on starting a new life on Australian soil. Over the years, Jawid has worked alongside many people who have found themselves in these situations.
“They are always hopeful about what is coming next. Most of our clients have been on a bridging visa and in community detention for many years, but hopeful for positive outcomes and they are not giving up,” he says.
A talented artist back in his homeland, Jawid says the exhibition is something he has wanted to do ever since he arrived in Australia.
“When I first came to Australia, I had that idea that I should do that exhibition to showcase my art to show what I have seen,” he says.
“After 10 years, it is finally happening for me.”
Jawid’s portraits will be on display for the public during a Refugee Week event at Wesley Uniting Church on William Street in Perth from 11am to 2pm on Monday June 21. The portraits will then go on public display at Mirrabooka Square Shopping Centre on Thursday June 24.