Alwy Fadhel, ‘Woman’, coffee on paper, 29x38cm.
From the Refugee Art Project: http://www.therefugeeartproject.com/
“The images in this gallery are paintings made with instant coffee powder that has been diluted in water and then put to the page. The technique was initiated by an Iraqi detainee who had some knowledge of art and who liked to paint in his free time. Upon entering detention, he had no access to paints so he reached for whatever was at hand, in this case finding an alternative use for instant coffee. He then taught the technique to Alwy Fadhel, who became its chief exponent. Coffee painting has gained a life of its own inside the Villawood Detention Centre and is now something of a tradition (a young Afghan asylum seekers has also begun to use the technique after Alwy’s example). The recourse to food as an artistic medium speaks to the ingenuity of detainees who have limited access to adequate materials and tools.
Alwy Fadhel has been detained for 4 years and 2 months—one of the longest running cases of detention. His works evoke the psychological hardships that detainees commonly face, including homesickness, anxiety, depression, and the trauma of witnessing other detainees commit acts of self-harm and suicide.”
Coffee paintings by Alwy Fadhel: The Scream, Deeply Sad, Fantasy, Oracle, Over the Fence, Young Girl, Young Woman
Coffee on Paper
I personally met this artist when I visited the detention centre, and I have seen his beautiful work. He’s amazing and his art made from coffee is incredible. I pray he’s ok, and feels love and encouragement.
These cartoons are by an asylum seeker from Burma (‘M’) who has spent over 3 years in detention. He is a member of the Rohingya Muslim community, who are severely persecuted by the Burmese military government. He is one amongst a number of Burmese and Sri Lankan Tamil people whose refugee status was accepted by the Australian government but whose security clearance was then rejected by ASIO. Because ASIO does not divulge the reasons for rejecting a person’s security status its decision cannot be appealed. M has no right to know on what grounds he was rejected and is given no right of review. He and others are trapped in a state of legal limbo and may remain in detention under the present system for an indefinite amount of time. At present, over fifty asylum seekers have had their security clearance rejected, including women and 6 children. They cannot be sent back to the countries from which they have fled nor will they be released into the community. Many are suffering from a range of mental illnesses and some have attempted to commit suicide.