I have drawn portraits of 39 refugees and asylum seekers in collaboration with The Asylum Seekers Centre, Sydney. I hope this project contributes positively in creating public awareness of the challenges faced and that it may introduce us to a few of these people. All of the portraits are in full colour and are drawn in pastel. They are drawn from life in 2-3 hours.
I chose to draw people:
Who are living legally in the community while they wait for their applications for protection to be processed.
Who have recently been granted protection and are starting to rebuild their lives in Australia.
Who Came to Australia in earlier periods and have since made an enormous contribution to Australia.
This is not about politics.
It is about our common humanity... I want to show that they are people like us, with the same hopes and dreams. Many of those I have met during this project have fled situations of great danger, whether it is political, cultural or religious.
I cannot even imagine how it would feel to have to leave everything behind. But they have had to leave their family, their home, their culture and their country. They have survived and are now focussed on rebuilding their lives, starting all over again. They have been an incredible inspiration.
Wendy Sharpe was delighted to be welcomed as an Ambassador of The Asylum Seekers Centre. -website link