Celebrating our creative spirit

Mi Nguyen's 'Flemington Bloom' will be exhibited at FabrianoInAcquarello in 2020
Mi Nguyen's 'Flemington Bloom' will be exhibited at FabrianoInAcquarello in 2020

It may not come as surprise to hear that migrant women’s health is rarely talked about as an ideal career path for highly creative individuals. Yet, time and time again, we find ourselves surrounded by the most extraordinary creative talent! So much so, we felt we couldn't let 2019 end without celebrating so many of our colleagues and peers, who have been enriching our cultural lives in addition to their 9 to 5s.

In our office alone, we find hidden (and not so hidden) writers, painters, poets and musicians:

Tracy Chen, our Program Administration Officer is a talented songwriter, musician and poet.

Vahideh Eisaei, our Making the Links Project Officer, and this month's 60 second interview, is an accomplished musician who performs internationally and plays the beautiful and moving qanun.

Kim Nguyen, our Research and Executive Assistant, is a published illustrator and multimedia artist who creates plush-work toys, clay sculptures, zines, comics and illustrations.

Mi Nguyen, our Getting Equal Project Officer, has recently been nominated and sponsored by the Watercolour Society of Queensland Inc to exhibit at FabrianoInAcquarello, an international watercolour festival in Italy in May 2020.

Our Dari, Farsi and Urdu Bilingual Health Educator, Mumtaz Masoud is also an accomplished singer and musician, with a Graduate Diploma in musical science. Mandarin and Cantonese Bilingual Health Educator, Yanping Xu, is in a traditional Chinese dance troupe.

Not to mention the incomparable Hoa Pham, who worked on our VARTA and OTA project earlier this year, is an acclaimed author and playwright, who also founded Peril Magazine, an Asian-Australian online arts and culture magazine. Outside the office, the arts sector is full of deeply creative women from migrant backgrounds that we admire, both on and off the screen. Fatima Mawas, who worked on our MCWH 40th anniversary video last year, produced this beautiful, feel-good, must-watch short film, Amar.

Of course, creativity takes many forms. In fact, this year, a number of staff reminded us that women’s bodies can also be enormously creative (pretty original to make, nurture and care for a human being). It's inspiring stuff! It's also known to improve health: creativity reduces depression, anxiety and dementia, boosts your immune system, improves mental and physical health and can help people to deal with trauma.

Whether or not we call ourselves artists (or mothers), it's good to remember that creative spirit is a strength we all bring to our work. Achieving our vision and our goals for migrant women requires imagination, design and originality. The paths we take and the processes we follow to reach migrant women on their own terms frequently require us to forge our own paths, make unconventional choices and see things from a different perspective to stay true to our purpose. Migrant women artists remind us of this unique standpoint. Supporting the artistic work, vision and voice of migrant women elevates us all.

Thank you to all the creative spirits who continue to inspire us, in choosing unique paths to express their vision. Looking forward to a new decade of creating the equitable, environmentally sustainable and healthy world we want to see.