Boman Ali is an asylum seeker from Afghanistan and he is here on a bridging visa. He is receiving treatment from our Polio Services Department. Boman is a visual artist and has painted a few artworks depicting his experience as a refugee. “Apart from the dangerous journey coming to Australia on a boat, missing my family has been the most difficult thing,” he says.
He travelled to Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia before his arrival in Australia on an asylum seeker boat two years ago, leaving behind his mother, sister and niece in Pakistan.
St Vincent’s has a “social justice through health” program in which we work to address the health care needs of asylem seekers living in the community.
Our Polio Services Department came to contact with Boman through the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Footscray last year when he needed treatment for his condition.
Boman created the artwork below, named The Inside Story, to celebrate the recent signing of a partnership agreement between St Vincent’s and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre under which St Vincent’s will provide free pathology services to asylum seekers. The artwork will be permanently displayed in various locations at our hospital.
Below is Boman’s description of his artwork: The Inside Story
“If you look out of the little window at the top you will see it is light with a few clouds, a totally different place to that inside. If you see the sun you feel better. Inside it is dark, with dark clouds, a moon, it is night time. For an asylum seeker who has experiencing a lot of hardship and has seen a lot of hardship in the past and is depressed, even day is night for him. The mountains have surrounded this boy and he is trapped between them where there is no light, no civilisation, nowhere to go and he is lonely.
“The small paper boat symbolises that many asylum seekers have come by boat and they are affected by many government policies, there is a lot of pressure on them. The wings symbolise potential freedom which we all have but this boy cannot use his. The red shorts give the viewer the idea that this boy is not in a good situation, he is in the red zone, he does not know what will happen in the future. The bird here gives the idea of success and open freedom. The boy hopes he will be successful in seeking asylum and he will be able to go towards his future. The dice is showing the luck that asylum seekers need to successfully be granted asylum in Australia.”