Save the Date: CuriousWorks will be at the New Beginnings Festival on January 27, 2024! Register here.


CuriousWorks is thrilled to announce its participation in the upcoming 2024 New Beginnings Festival with Settlement Services International . We’ll be showcasing the extraordinary talents of three artists Ali Rezvani, Leila Beigli and Khishkok Abdo from our 2023 Refugee Artist Development Program,  as well as presenting a collaborative live mural painting experience with visual artists Emmanuel Asante and Shiva Dadvar.

The New Beginnings Festival is a celebration of people, culture and art and we are proud to be a part of this exciting event. Our three artists will bring a unique and enriching perspective to the New Beginnings Festival through the mediums of visual art, photography and digital art providing an immersive and engaging experience for festival attendees. During the festival, visitors will have the opportunity to engage with the individual collections and form a deeper understanding and connection to the lived experiences of the artists.

Meet the Live Mural Artists:

Shiva Dadvar – Shiva Dadvar is a Persian visual artist, living in Sydney, Australia. Her abstract-surrealism illustrations are inspired by Persian art styles, Frida Kahlo, and Salvador Dali. Shiva believes that art has the power to break through language barriers and borders, and is currently studying Art Therapy at the College of Complimentary Medicine to support others to process trauma through art.

Emmanuel Asante – Emmanuel Asante is a young artist from Ghana in West Africa who currently resides in Fairfield in Western Sydney. He is highly influenced by his culture, Frida Kahlo and his artist-mentor Abdul Abdullah. Self-taught, Asante commenced painting and drawing to deal with depression and personal experiences. His art practice reflects his identity as a young Ghanaian migrant to Australia, incorporating traditional African metaphors and cultural symbols. He is currently the lead artist for CuriousWorks Utopia program.

Meet the Artists from CuriousWorks Refugee Artist Development Program:

Ali Rezvani – Ali Rezvani is a Sydney based filmmaker and artist working across video and photography. Born in Iran, Ali conceptualizes his works based on the complexities of human relationships through simple yet nuanced visual language. Ali will be exhibiting a photo collection for solo exhibition. In his words:

The collection was developed over a 5 year process living in Isfahan, Tehran and Konya. It captures a single moment in life; and through repetition opens us up into another vista – one that differs from that of the original event. Select works from the collection will be experienced through intentional observation through a Raree box. 

Leila Beigli – Leila Beigli is Sydney-based visual artist and painter born in Iran. Her work invites conversation on global human and women’s rights drawing from her lived experience as a refugee. Her most notable work Offshore depicts the plight of children trapped in the Nauru detention centre which gained national attention in federal parliament. She will be exhibiting a new visual art collection. In her words:

The collection depicts my lived experience as a woman and mother from Iran from a refugee background. The collection is both a beacon of hope and a call to action for the freedom of women and children globally.

Khishkok Abdo – Khishkok Abdo is an emerging digital artist passionate about sharing the message about the importance of access to Auslan for people who are deaf or hard of hearing from birth and early childhood. She will be showcasing a new collection of digital art pieces. In her words:

Often, their parents were discouraged from learning signing for their child due to misinformation that signing would impact their cognitive abilities. Most of the time, parents were not given information about Auslan and were only provided with medical options. However, medical interventions cannot provide full support or “fix” a person with hearing loss. As a result, when those children grow up, they may experience language deprivation, self-esteem and identity issues. My work speaks to this.

The New Beginnings Festival returns to the Australian Maritime Museum on January 27, 2024. Join us at the festival as we celebrate the meaningful works developed by our featured artists over the past year. Tickets are free, just register your attendance here:

Header photo by: Fer Morales