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UNSW Galleries

Sounds of the Desert: Stories of the Cameleers

Where
UNSW Galleries
UNSW Galleries
Corner of Oxford Street and Greens Road, Paddington NSW 2021
When

Saturday 25 May from 11am to 3pm

Between 1860 and 1920, Australia relied upon mostly Islamic cameleers from South Asia, Southwest Asia, and North Africa to transport supplies, communication infrastructure, and colonial society between regional outposts.

Known as ‘Afghan’ cameleers, they traversed the continent’s interior, intersecting with the tracks already established by First Nations peoples, forming an intercultural bond.

This program expands on the research of artist Elyas Alavi, exploring the forgotten histories of the Afghan cameleers in Australia. Bringing together the descendants of these communities, the program will engage audiences through storytelling, knowledge-sharing, poetry, performance, and film.

Full program to be announced

Elyas Alavi is a visual artist with a multidisciplinary practice that spans painting, installation, moving image, poetry, and performance. Alavi’s practice often examines the complex intersections of race, displacement, memory, gender and sexuality accounting for hyper invisibilities and troubling received notions of culture and belonging. More specifically, his work complicates histories in the South West Asia and North Africa (SWANA) region and thinks through the links between the globalised condition, settler colonialism, and who is implicated in the mobility and displacement of Black and Brown bodies.

Presented in conjunction with the 24th Biennale of Sydney, ‘Ten Thousand Suns’ at UNSW Galleries, 9 March – 10 June 2024.

Image: Elyas Alavi, VASL (detail from series), 2024. Photographic print. Courtesy of the artist

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