Destigmatising discussions on race and family at Immigration Museum with Fam by Where are you from? (WAYF)
26 August 2023 – 28 January 2024
A new exhibition coming to Immigration Museum from 26 August, Fam by Where are you from? (WAYF), aims to destigmatise and prioritise conversations about race and family.
For many people of colour living in predominantly white communities, the question ‘Where are you from?’ is a regular encounter. While this enquiry may be considered harmless, it can feel othering.
WAYF is a project created by Melbourne curator and writer Sabina McKenna to celebrate, educate and raise awareness about the BIPOC (black and indigenous people of colour) identity through art and storytelling.
As part of this ongoing project, Sabina brings Fam to Immigration Museum from 26 August. Consisting of 15 portraits and stories, the exhibition documents the experiences of mixed and multi-ethnic families in Australia to explore how they grapple with differences in perspective and lived experience.
‘We are thrilled to welcome this thought-provoking and nuanced exhibition to the Immigration Museum because it really connects with our mission of exploring identity and belonging,’ said Immigration Museum General Manager Rohini Kappadath.
‘Exhibitions like Fam shape contemporary societal notions of the modern Australian family and give expression to our long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusivity.’
Fam will redefine the conventional Australian family portrait, encouraging important discussions and reflection within the audience. Photographed by Jess Brohier, the exhibition features prominent Melbournians such as artist Hayley Millar Baker and Hope St Radio chef Ellie Bouhadana.
The idea for WAYF was born from Sabina’s experience as a Nigerian-Australian raised by family members of other cultural backgrounds (Australian-Irish, Filipino). Throughout her upbringing she encountered many BIPOC Australians who had also been confronted with the complexity of navigating issues of culture, race and racism within their families and communities.
‘It’s one thing to comprehend being racialised by a society, but something entirely different within your own family,’ said Sabina. ‘I grew up feeling very disconnected from my relatives in that sense – my closest family members are white, and the world is a vastly different place for them. With Fam, I wanted to explore how we can understand each other despite that.’
Like the Immigration Museum, Fam fosters the exchange of stories about culture and history, and fearlessly discusses the big questions of life.
‘I believe that the combination of perspectives, and the creative excellence that is the Immigration Museum, will provide a valuable opportunity to approach these topics from a fresh and unique perspective, and on a much larger scale than has been achieved so far,’ said Sabina.
Fam by Where are you from? is free with Immigration Museum entry from 26 August.