Szofi Samu & Riccardo Armillei - 'Thoughts Are Free'

Wednesday 21 November - Sunday 16 December 2018

Asylum seekers often end their voyage in detention centres where they remain isolated for years. Allowing their physical segregation from society, these temporary ‘housing’ solutions condemn their inhabitants to live a condition of political, economic and cultural isolation, often indefinitely. Despite the dire living conditions, this enclosed unfamiliar environment becomes a place of hope, rather than mere despair. Misplaced and detained, the only tool they have, to survive demeaning circumstances, is their hope of regaining liberty.

Thoughts Are Free gives a voice to the subtle tensions and interplay between dreams and reality. The recurring motif of the exhibition is the stylised image of barbed wire fences, which spreads like invasive weeds throughout the art pieces displayed. Two- and three-dimensional artworks can immerse viewers in the surreal and dreamlike experiences of the asylum seekers. The ambiguous boundaries of the see-through printed organza and metal wire mesh will be the starting point for people to think about their relationship with the theme represented. However, this exhibition should not be viewed merely as depicting the plight of the asylum seekers in Australia and across the globe. Rather, it offers hope for resistance politics, hope for civil society activism and hope for the emerging global discourse on ethical solidarity and intercultural understanding. By giving vibrant stream of colours and ethereal appearance to the sculptures, we explore the human spirit, whose power cannot be taken away in captivity or under repression.

10% of artists’ takings will be donated to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.