Artist Talk

Safdar Ahmed (pictured) from the Refugee Art Project will facilitate a panel discussion between our three leading artist facilitators: Majid Rabet, Atefeh Hekmat and Damon AMB.

Safdar Ahmed is a Sydney-based artist and academic. He is the author of Reform and Modernity in Islam (IB Taurus) and the Walkley Award-winning documentary webcomic Villawood: Notes from an immigration detention centre. He works mostly in the mediums of drawing and comics, and is a founding member of Refugee Art Project, for which he conducts regular art workshops with people seeking asylum and refugees in Western Sydney.

Iranian refugee, artist and engineer Majid Rabet pairs technology with art and uses innovation to help other artists to develop their art projects. He has created a hot wire machine from scrap material that makes laser cuts into styrofoam and has referred to this during the workshops. Mr Rabet’s artistic practice began after arriving in Australia in 2010 and spending two years detained in immigration centres. He uses art as a form of therapy to overcome the trauma that he has suffered as a refugee.

Persian artist and painter Atefeh Hekmat was a thriving assistant artist with over 20 years of experience working in the field. After opening her own art gallery, Ms Hekmat curated several exhibitions with the support of art teachers and friends. She has had many solo and group exhibitions in Iran and Australia. Her artistic practice centers on oil and acrylic painting on canvas. Her works are dynamic and represent her desire to connect with her inner journey as an artist.  Atefeh also runs private art classes, workshops and demonstrations. 

Photographer and Digital Artist Damon AMB began his photographic journey more than 20 years ago with his father’s old Konica camera in Iran. He started experimenting by taking images of nature, people and his surroundings. He now runs his own studio and business, Damon Art Studio.

Safdar will prompt our artists to speak from the heart on the experience of running their recent workshops with new arrivals. The talk will focus on the artists’ sense of ownership and the feeling of sharing their artistic knowledge with other newcomers.

The talk will also explore the experience of being an artist from a refugee background and how this has translated into their own artistic experiences and expressions of self.