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Ich Werde Deutsch

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Maziar Moradi, Betty Hinton, Julian Burnside AO QC, Shelley Hinton - curator of Post Office Gallery.

By Fiona Watson

The Ballarat International Foto Biennale’s Q & A with Julian Burnside AO, QC and artist Maziar Moradi at the Post Office Gallery at the Arts Academy FedUni. As Ambassador to the Ballarat International Foto Biennale Julian Burnside AO QC could have been no better person to moderate a fascinating and insightful Q & A with Iranian born artist Maziar Moradi who now lives and works in Berlin.

Julian Burnside is wellknown for his advocacy on human rights and refugees and is passionate about the plight of people fleeing their homelands through war and famine. He is also a passionate supporter of the arts, who collects photographs, paintings andsculpture, and regularly commissions music. Julian commented that this year’s Biennale included some of the best, and most challenging, photographs he has ever seen. “Congratulations to the Ballarat International Foto Biennale…and to Ballarat, for housing it and responding to it so generously.” The coming together of Julian and Maziar to discuss Maziar’s powerful and sometimes playful photographic exhibition brought together two people with a similar focus on life. Maziar’s work is based on impressions, fears, experiences, fates and losses of young migrants.

Julian’s involvement is at the other end of the spectrum, supporting migrants who have experienced those very same conditions. The exhibition at the Post Office Gallery is called “Ich Werde Deutsch”, which translates as “I Become German”, with each image capturing the essence of the subject, seeking to fit into a different culture, longing to belong, but not able to give up on the past. The audience at the Post Office Theatre were listening in on an intimate, personal conversation between the two men, who spoke of Maziar’s experiences leaving his home country and establishing himself in a far off distant land; of the way in which Maziar composes his photographs, staging the photographic portraits to capture and visualise the stories of the migrants whom he has met in Germany. On opening up the Q & A to the audience, questions focused on technique, migration and the human heart with Maziar warmly sharing his joy of being amongst kind, friendly people in Ballarat and, as Artist in Residence at the Biennale, was looking forward to gaining a better knowledge of both Ballarat and the local countryside. Maziar’s exhibition is thought-provoking, fun and so very creative.