ON Saturday two unique performances will be held in the Davies St Pedestrian Tunnel (between Mair St and Scott Parade), a collaboration between Rose Turtle Ertler and Ballarat Rural Australians for Refugees (Ballarat RAR). Called Light At The End …the shows are part of Cultural Diversity Week in Ballarat.
“There will be six performers, five local refugees/asylum seekers from Sudan, Afghanistan and the Congo and also Kath who is representing RAR,” says Rose, who is visibly uncomfortable with the labels ‘asylum seeker and refugee’. Explaining the event she says, “The audience will be given a set of headphones and they will hear a collection of stories about light, it’s playing with the idea of ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, glimmers of hope in the darkness and it aims to be in a situation where you can talk to a refugee and think it’s just another person and to be able to relate to stories, even though you may not have had the same experiences, you can have a similar emotional response.”
“We hope to bring awareness, and it’s about accepting people now rather than the labels they have been given,” she added. “I sometimes feel uncomfortable saying these people are refugees, they are actually people.” Kath Morton is also uncomfortable with labels, “Instead of saying these people are asylum seekers, first of all they are people, and these are people who are seeking asylum and these people have gained asylum.”
On Saturday the performers will be in attendance but the audio has been prerecorded. “There are two questions we put to them first and there were: when and how did you find the light and where do you get strength?” Ms Morton said. All of the performers have different reasons for taking part.
Ali Bakhtiarvandi has been in Australia for 16 years. Quietly spoken he says, “I want to show people what’s the right term for us, for our life and whatever we like for ourselves we love it for other people, as well, we want them to see the light.” Sadiki Mukasa has been in Australia for 10 years and added, “For me it was just to get my story told and just that awareness from where we come from.”
Two shows will be held on Saturday at 11am and midday, there is limited seating and booking is essential at www.trybooking.com/KPRK or ph. 0414 346 436 tickets are $10.