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Refugee Artist’s residency at Wilsons Prom

Wednesday 13 February, 2013

With the help of AMES and Parks Victoria, last year’s Heartlands Refugee Art Prize winner, Minela Krupic, has just completed a ten day artist’s residency at Wilsons Promontory National Park.

Minela’s etching installation titled Kolekcija won her $5,000 and the Prom residency, both of which will help further her artistic career.

Minela arrived in Australia as a refugee from war torn Bosnia in 1997, and says her artwork reflects the experiences and the changes in her life since then. This was her first visit to the Prom and she’s found it a very inspirational experience. “Since it was a short time there I decided to use it mainly for inspiration; taking photographs in nature, sketching in my visual diary, as well as doing some etching on copper plates I had prepared.”

“Being out in nature is quite grounding for me. It brings me back to a place where I can at the same time let go and fully embrace my surroundings. This in turn helps me to start the creative process of drawing. For example, I took a lot of photographs of tree silhouettes against the sunset at Picnic Bay. I found the squiggly lines of the trees and the stark burnt colour of the trees against the new undergrowth quite inspiring for my printmaking. It was also nice seeing native animals like wallabies, wombats and kangaroos popping out of the picturesque bush, as well as the introduced rabbits and deers.”

Parks Victoria is a major sponsor of the prize, and Ranger in Charge at Tidal River, Ben Robertson, is proud to be involved. “It’s great to be supporting a program like this which encourages migrants and refugees to connect with nature in their new home country. Parks are not just great places for mental and physical relaxation, but also for artistic inspiration. We’re looking forward to seeing the art work Minela makes as a result of her visit.”

Minela says the wide open space and wilderness helped her reflect on things. “For someone who is not familiar with Wilson's Prom, I'd say being there gives you the feel for what the Australian bush is really like. It's a good thing for refugees and migrants to experience the Australian bush and its unique native animals in real life; it creates awareness for them about their new homeland.”

Produced by AMES and Multicultural Arts Victoria, Heartlands Refugee Art Prize is an important way for artists from refugee backgrounds to contribute and tell their stories. Last year it attracted 78 entries by artists from 15 countries.

Entries for 2013 Heartlands Refugee Art Prize are now open. For further information: Facebook: Heartlands Refugee Art Prize

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