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The Swamp is a 20min animation project created from drawings produced through workshops in refugee detention centres, and in community detention, in Australia. Over 20 people contributed drawings to the project that were transformed into animations by six lead artists who come from both refugee and non-refugee backgrounds; Mona Moradveisi, Safdar Ahmed, Zanny Begg, Zeina Iaali, Susie Nelson and Murtaza Ali Jafar.


The Swamp is an exploration of the murky and rising waters of border politics in Australia, it aims to challenge the dominant narrative surrounding refugees by allowing critical voices to discuss issues of racism, nationalism and national identity. The film provides a unique dialogue with Thomas Wales, an Indigenous elder who worked with asylum seekers in far north Queensland, who challenges the legitimacy of the Australian governments treatment of refugees by demonstrating the compassion and respect offered by First Nation leaders.


The Swamp was produced through workshops in Villawood Detention Centre, at Bossley Park High (a school with a large

refugee population) and with women in community detention in Parramatta, Western Sydney. In a climate of censorship, where

cameras and audio devices are banned from detention centres, these workshops provided a vital form of solidarity, allowing people to connect and share stories. Using a simple pen, paper and pencil, forms of communication that fly under the censorship radar, stories were shared and bought out of the detention centre for use in the film.


The Swamp includes music from one of the earliest scores of written music discovered in ancient Assyria, that has been given

interpreted by Stef Conner. It describes the trauma and dislocation caused by extreme storms and floods, evoking the situation

for contemporary climate refugees. This ancient song is matched by the inclusion of a text, from a similar era, which is one if

the first known written descriptions of cultural difference. The poem has been interpreted as a pre-Christian story of the Tower

of Babel, with an important difference, multiple languages come as a gift from the gods, rather then a punishment. These

ancient stories spring from the region that was once home to many of the refugees who worked on the film and situate the

current crisis within a long vision of human history. The other music in the film was produced by Hazeen, Australia's first

Muslim death Metal band, that aims to challenge islamophobia by playing on fears of "Muslim Zombies".

The Swamp aims to challenge the racism that sustains harsh border polices in Australia and to allow a space for refugees to

tell their own stories about their journeys to Australia.



Undrawing the Line

Artraker Biennial Awards 2017


Undrawing the Line

The Swamp

Animation - 20 Mins


Watch the animation here


© Artraker CIC 2017

/ ARTRAKER, 2017



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