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
CONFLICT AREA / COUNTRY OF REFERENCE: AUSTRALIA
Undrawing the Line
Animation - 20 Mins
© Artraker CIC 2017
Undrawing the Line was formed by four people – Mona Moradveisi, Safdar Ahmed, Zanny Begg and Murtaza Ali Jafari – to challenge the binary between citizen and non-citizen that frames current thinking about borders. Undrawing the Line was formed in October 2014 and