At a recent talk on exhibition at Kiama Library, local printmaker Machteld Hali touched on the impact that Diaspora has had on her life.
Intrigued, the organisers have asked her to come back to speak about the Diaspora experience.
To do this, Machteld is keen to find other people in our community that have stories to tell.
“In the telling comes the healing,” she says.
Her experience of Diaspora, or cultural displacement, comes from being a child migrant from Holland after the war.
“I couldn’t be the person I was brought up to be,” she explains. “There is pain in having the things that are part of you rejected.”
She credits her art with being the glue that has held her image of herself together.
“I own who I am, and part of that healing has come through the telling. I have found a way of honouring my past.”
She acknowledges that other people have gone through much more than her, and has always empathised with them.
“When I was 17 I went on the Freedom Rides with Charlie Perkins. It was a very formative experience, but it wasn’t until much later that I recognised the Diaspora connection.”
After the 50th anniversary of the rides, she launched an ongoing philanthropic project to teach printmaking in Moree as a way to ease Diaspora through art.
Details: Anyone with experience of losing their cultural identity should contact Machteld by the end of May at firstname.lastname@example.org