Refugee art exhibition

GANNAWARRA Shire Council and the Gannawarra Refugee Support Group have united to host an art exhibition to support Refugee Week from this Thursday through to Wednesday, July 17.

Kerang library will host an exhibition of works from Sydney-based artist and former Swan Hill resident, Aamir Hussain who fled his homeland in 2013 after receiving death threats from an extremist group. 

A qualified accountant, Mr Hussain fled Pakistan at the threat of death by an extremist group. He travelled through Iran, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, where he boarded a boat bound for Australia.

It took Mr Hussain four days to travel by boat to Christmas Island, where he was detained for 23 days. He was then moved to the Curtin Immigration Detention Centre, located in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, where he spent the next six months.

Following his release from Curtin, Mr Hussain travelled to Swan Hill, where he found work and friends, learned English and about Australian culture. He has since moved to Sydney and works as a cleaner and forklift operator.

"I am thankful to Australia who gave me shelter and protection and I would try my level best to give something back to Australia," Mr Hussain said.

The exhibition, featuring Mr Hussain's pencil drawn portraits, will be officially opened at 5.30pm on Saturday, June 1. Community members are welcome and encouraged to attend. 

"Refugee Week gives us a chance to celebrate the courage, resilience and contribution of refugees," Council's manager of libraries, Kerri Sidorow said. 

"The theme for this year's Refugee Week is A World of Stories. What better place to celebrate than our library?"

Refugee Week is held nationally from Sunday, June 16 to Saturday, June 22.