By Wendy Williamson
Powerful photographs line the walls of the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum, where the Beyond Borders travelling exhibition is currently showing.
The exhibition features photos of refugees and asylum seekers taken by MAPgroup photographers.
Many Australian Photographers (MAP)group is a non-profit association of about 40 photographers who share a passion for, and commitment to, high quality, independent documentary photography.
At the Beyond Borders exhibition, words accompanying each photograph shed light on the unique experiences of the photo subjects.
The viewer is reminded that these are people, not problems. This message is reinforced by video recordings of interviews with the refugees in which they speak of their lives before and after seeking refuge in Australia.
The Lilydale exhibition has the added attraction of a local angle, as museum program director Patrick Watt explained.
“Some of the refugees who live locally have also been interviewed. They talk of how they are settling into the community.”
The museum, he said, took pride in offering a varied program of exhibitions.
“This multimedia exhibition of refugees and asylum seekers reflects the make-up of our community. It is an opportunity for the community to look at itself.”
Mr Watt said that the exhibition was not all about contemporary asylum seekers.
“A lot of our community are the children or grandchildren of refugees. We also show footage of Bonegilla (migrant centre).”
Of particular interest to locals will be a talk to be given at the museum on 21 September (11am to 12pm). Dr Khoi Bui will tell his personal story – from fleeing Vietnam as a refugee in the 1970s to today, when he is a doctor at Healesville.
Entry to the talk is free, but online booking is preferred. Visit http://ach.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/Regional_Museum/
The Yarra Ranges Regional Museum is at 35-37 Castella Street, Lilydale. The ‘Beyond Borders’ exhibition runs until Sunday 8 October. Entry is free.