Treatment of people seeking asylum in Australia is as cruel as a dinosaur is big.
Writing Through Fences, facilitated by Janet Galbraith, is a group of writers currently or recently detained by Australia’s immigration system. The group’s next publication will be a book entitled ‘The Strong Sunflower’ featuring a poem by Mohammad Ali Maleki who is detained on Manus Island. This application is requesting funds for the printing of this book. Rose Turtle Ertler (who works with WTF) and Mohammad have been writing to each other daily for the last 18months.
Mohammad, an Iranian man, a tailor and a set/prop builder for films, started writing poetry a year ago. He takes a lot of medication, is depressed and anxious, sleeps little, eats one meal a day, and like all other men on Manus, has inadequate medical treatment.
When asked why he writes, Mohammad answers: Because I am writing my feeling. I am writing everything that is happening here for me. I write my feeling on the paper and see my pain. Some time I see my pain this is good for me. But some time very hard to see my pain.
Some of Mohammad’s poems have been published online by various writers and publishers in Australia. This makes him happy and enables his voice to reach beyond the fences of detention.
Mohammad’s book will be printed on A5 paper with a spine stitched together (referencing his tailoring skills.) Mohammad will create artwork for the cover and 8 artists will make illustrations for the book.
4 refugee artists: - Eaten Fish cartoonist detained on Manus (Freedom of Expression Voltaire Award Liberty Victoria, CRNI Human Rights Award) - Mahmoud Salameh (Palestinian - Syd) Miriem Salameh (Syrian - Melb) Iqbal Asadi (Iranian - Melb)
4 non-refugee artists: Firstdog Onthemoon The Guardian cartoonist/regular collaborator with Eaten Fish (Melb) Mandy Ord graphic comic artist (Melb) Michael Camilleri artist (Melb) Rachael Guy botanical artist (Castlemaine)
The book will be launched and distributed by WTF
Funded by Melbourne (July 2017)