Multi-Platform Creative Development

2016 – 2018

beyond refuge has come out of a 3-year project which aims to support artists with lived experience as refugees, or as children of refugees, to build their original artistic projects. Artists come from various cultural communities in South Western Sydney and have been identified through participation in our community program and the Curious Creators program. beyond refuge seeks to build their creative confidence, artistic voice and work towards a collaborative new work over three years that creates dialogue about the refugee experience as a part of Australian identity.


beyond refuge: dialogues

2018 oversees the development and completion of beyond refuge: dialogues,  an audio-visual video installation reflecting back Australian landscapes with the new narratives of our time. It is a set of new video commissions for artists who share a refugee or asylum seeker experience. Created from ‘the epic films we have inside us’ and based on our ordinary lives set against extraordinary circumstances, beyond refuge: dialogues is part manifesto for freedom, and part evocation of the mundane consequences of forced migration. 

A series of obsessively observed landscapes are recorded on film – the living room of a Liverpool flat, the length of a suburban street at dusk, the view from a car travelling through the edge of where the city meets the bush. Over the top are a series of stories written and told by artists who have shared experience as refugees and asylum seekers in Australia.

These multi-screen video and audio works are informed by CuriousWorks’ extensive community arts and engagement work, working with refugee artists who seek to change the narrative by defining on their own terms what they would like to say and how they would like to say it.

beyond refuge: citizens

beyond refuge: citizens is an exhibition that asserts the beautiful and fundamental rights of every human being to freedom and peace. It is also a cry to those who have lost their freedom, through the structures and exertions of power.

The exhibition was shown at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in 2016, alongside the landmark Refugees exhibition. In 2017, beyond refuge: citizens toured to Lane Cove Gallery as part of the Translating Displacement exhibition program.

beyond refuge: flashbacks

beyond refuge: flashbacks is a short film by Curious Creator Sean Ly, documenting his parents’ journey as asylum seekers from Cambodia in the 1980s.  Sean Ly goes on a journey of personal discovery to learn and record the previously unshared story of his parents – refugees from Cambodia who settled in Western Sydney in the 1980s. Through interviews as a mother and father speaking to their son, they recall past experiences and share flashbacks of displacement and resettlement.

The 25-minute film includes a soundtrack with original music contributed by Channthy Kak, lead singer from the international music sensation ‘The Cambodian Space Project’. This film went on to be shown at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre and the 2016 Kampot Readers and Writers Festival in Cambodia.



Opening Night at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, July 2016



Daisy Montalvo, Jocelyn Montalvo, Jesica Montalvo, Ali Azeez, Ali Mousawi, Elham BehinAein, Samia Halabi, Barbara Schefer, Mahdi Mohammedi, Dani Sitto, Sean Ly, Adam McPhilbin, Hayder Al Bdairi, Soheil Ettehadolhagh, Shawn Spina, Harsh Yalam, Dee Dogan, Faisal Ayani, Mohammed Alanezi, Damon AMB, Khaled Marian


Caitlin Newton-Broad, Claudia Chidiac, Valerie Berry, Mireille Juchau, Sarah Emery, Guido Gonzalez 


This Project is supported by Australia Council for the Arts, Fairfield City Council, Liverpool City Council and Create NSW. Project partners include Settlement Services International, the peak NSW body for refugee settlement and migrant resources centres and Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.