‘The World Next Door’ Art Exhibition at the Mercy HubDecember 6, 2021
Click on the arrow above to view a selection of Naser’s artwork featured as part of the exhibition
(Click on the magnifying glass in the middle of the image to make it full size).
Alternatively you may like to view this gallery as a PDF – Click here
‘The World Next Door’ art exhibition, organised by Young Mercy Links at Melbourne’s Mercy Hub, had it’s opening night on Monday November 29 featuring a large collection of Naser Moradi’s artwork.
Naser is a Hazara man from Afghanistan. A self-taught artist who came to Australia to seek asylum but is currently being held in detention at Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA). Although Naser lives in a world of complete uncertainty and is unsure of when he will have his freedom, his art radiates hope and love for the county that imprisons him.
The walls of the Mercy Hub are filled with colour and stories, an insight into Naser’s heart and mind as we get to see the world through his brush strokes. From his first works of art, using only discarded coffee grains, we are taken to the stunning landscapes of the country he yearns to call home.
Before the formal part of the night, I got an understanding of who has come to support Naser and see his amazing pieces. Those in attendance were individuals who are friends with Naser visiting him at MITA, people who have come to Australia to seek asylum and refuge from their country, as well as followers of his artistic journey. So many people were standing together with Naser in solidarity, support, and love.
After welcoming everyone and officially opening the exhibition, Olivia Egan, a Young Mercy Links member, and the MC for the evening introduced Tom Ballard. A well-known comedian and friend of Naser’s, Tom spoke of his friendship with Naser and his bewilderment at his remarkable ability to bring hope and thoughts of freedom into his art. Next, Sofia Walsh, a dear friend and confidant of Naser’s spoke giving us a very moving insight into Naser’s journey. Sofia was also the curator of the exhibit and gave up so generously of her time to help us put on the event. She made it possible for us to be in contact with Naser, providing us with the opportunity to meet him via video call during the lockdown and adding the final touches to the displays. Her words were full of compassion, emotion and were overflowing with love.
After Sofia, Naser’s friend of 5 years, Awale – a refugee himself and an advocate for social justice and refugee rights– shared a poem he wrote about Naser’s painting “At What Cost?” It spoke of freedom and hope and noted that no matter the amount someone wishes to buy a painting for, it is Naser’s freedom that is priceless and what he longs for most. And finally, we heard from the artist himself. Naser spoke to us from detention via video call addressing everyone in attendance at the Hub. Naser thanked us as friends for supporting him and wished that at the next exhibition he could be there in person to celebrate with us. While he was speaking, we could all feel such a sense of gratitude in his words. Sofia has said that once Naser is released, he wants to meet with everyone to give thanks which shows how incredibly thankful and kind-hearted he is. During his speech he held up a recent painting of a beautiful rose, a gift of thanks to us for being there on opening night and having his work displayed.
Young Mercy Links would like to thank Naser for trusting us with his story and giving us the gift of his art.
Written by Phoebe Baillon- Young Mercy Links Member
Click on the arrow below to watch a recording of the Opening Night.
With thanks to Liam Gubbins for the video.
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December 7 2021