Our mission

Sharing Home | Embracing our Identities | Connecting Communities

Bukjeh roughly translates to ‘a small pack of belongings carried by travellers and refugees’. Our mission is to empower people to share their art and stories which have the magic to connect themselves and communities to a piece of home.

Our Goals

Empower people to share their art and stories of home, of displacement, and of everything afterwards.

Help others to feel comfortable being proud of their rich and unique identities

Encourage more communities to embrace diversity

Build visibility, engagement, and inclusion of those who have been displaced - in our schools, in our communities, and in our governments

Meet Our Team

Bukjeh is focusing on working with diverse communities in order to bring together the best quality of work

Meet Our Talented Storytellers

Aseel Tayah

Founder and Creative Director

Aseel Tayah is a Melbourne-based Palestinian artist, creative director and cultural leader who uses her practice to advocate for artists of colour, mothers, children and young people, "changing the world, one project at a time." She has recently been described as “an unstoppable force in the Australian cultural landscape.” Aseel exemplifies the use of art and creativity to achieve social justice, and is renowned for her kindness, optimism and generosity. Through the power of storytelling, Aseel's artistic practice creates awareness and facilitates connection by humanising the experiences of people who have been displaced. You can read more about her work on Aseeltayah.com

Kush Kuiy

Production Manager

Kuichiang “Kush” Kuiy is a second generation Australian of South-Sudanese heritage. She is of the Nuer nation in the Upper Nile region and a proud cie-wang woman. Kush is a “doer of many things”, she is an independent producer/artist/writer/curator and avid bird watcher. She brings her lived experience of suburban life to her producing practice, as a lifetime resident of the South-East of Melbourne, she stages innovative experiences that showcase performing artists emerging from South-East Melbourne’s burgeoning scene. Kush’s artistic practice is very personal, she is experimental in exploring how she can manipulate different mediums to reflect her third-culture experience; connect with her cultural heritage; and the natural world.

Meena Shamaly

Musical Director

Meena Shamaly is a composer, musician, poet, and radio presenter. His work centres around storytelling through the mediums of film, video games, songwriting, and performance poetry. He is also a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, specifically sought for his expertise on Middle Eastern music. Meena regularly collaborates with other artists to highlight the best aspects of their art. He also runs workshops in poetry and music for artists to help them explore their creativity. Meena also hosts the Game Show on ABC Classic, presenting the music of video games on radio to a national Australian and global online audience.

Jose Louis Alejandro

Artists and Facilitator

Jose is an interdisciplinary performing Artist, Facilitator, Somatic and Transpersonal Psychotherapist, Yogi, Physical Therapist and Creator. Started his journey in his native Chile, where graduated as Psychologist, Psychotherapist and Actor. During that time, he added into his blend specialised courses in Meditation, Gestalt, Transpersonal Psychotherapy, Breath work, Psychodrama, Projective test, as well as creative workshops in Contemporary Dance, Contact Improvisation, Emotional Expression, Singing and Spoken voice.

Rania Ahmed

Artists and Facilitator

Rania is a Muslim Egyptian poet and writer who aims to change perspective via her writing. Winner of the MSW poetry prize 2018, her writing humanizes all and stirs thoughts through controversial topics. She participated, in the Footscray art centre through the west writer's group with Alia Gabres, and MSW gigs.  Rania also became part of a community project called Bukjeh, with Aseel Tayah. Bukjeh creates awareness about displacement to people around the world. She writes for the Australian Muslim times and podium magazine. Rania adores connection and finds writing to be her best way of doing so.

Camille Feghali

Film Director

Camille is a Lebanese musician and film-maker who draws heavily from the traditions of classical Middle Eastern music. The instruments he plays include the Qanun, the Nay, the Buzuq and the synthesizer. He cofounded “Tarabeat” in 2016, which is a music collective combining Arabic traditional music with electronic instruments. Tarabeat managed to perform at various festivals in the middle east, Europe and Australia. Having studied sound engineering and film-making in Beirut, Lebanon, Camille directed a few social documentaries including “Transit” in 2017.

Folole Tupuola

Artists and Facilitator

Folole Asuao Sanele Tupuola a Samoan is a Samoan woman and is settled on Watharaung Country. They are a dancer, emerging artist and activist. She shares stories through her art-making and together with community.

safa

Set & Costume Designer

Safa El Samad lives by the axiom that ‘the architect should be able to design everything from the city to the spoon.’ Not only a testament to her all-rounded experience as a multidisciplinary artist, fashion designer and emerging architect, Safa is also passionate about art and design that is built to last. She recently combined these areas of interest into an original and certified sustainable t-shirt design to raise funds for Lebanon’s bushfire recovery efforts. Safa is currently completing a Masters of Architecture at Monash University.

Oz Malik

Artists and Facilitator

Oz Malik is an actor, artist, talk show host and program curator. His practise adopts ideas & inspiration from Sufi mysticism, ancient wisdom and the decolonial. As a person of colour, Oz Malik hopes to be involved in the process of portraying positive & honest representation of multicultural communities in the current media and film landscape. Born in Melbourne, Oz Malik grew up in the south east suburbs of Melbourne and practises his craft on Bunurong and the Wurundjeri land. His acting experience was cultivated at the National theatre of Victoria, The Australia Film & Television Academy and Brave studios.

Nadine Riales

Marketing and communication

Nadine manages Bukjeh's social media

Christen Mounir

Programs manager

Christen manages Bukjeh's programs

Elsaleh saleh

Design Manager

Elsaleh manages the designs of Bukjeh

Our Advisory Group

Veronica Pardo

CEO of Multicultural Art Victoria. Through her work, she has led an ambitious agenda of social and artistic transformation for people with a disability and the communities in which they live. With a passion for social justice and equity, she has spearheaded campaigns relating to the inclusion of all people in arts and culture, as audiences and cultural innovators. Veronica has a successful history of employment at senior levels in the not for profit sector, with a major focus on policy and advocacy.

Maria Dimopoulos

Maria Dimopoulos AM is a nationally and internationally recognised executive leader and expert on multicultural affairs. Maria has over 25 years of experience in cultural diversity, gender equity justice, and human rights.

Farida Fleming

Farida Fleming is an evaluator committed to supporting positive change and social justice. She has over 20 years of experience working with international donors, NGOs, and government departments to monitor programs and design and implement evaluations and evaluative systems.

Eveyln Tadros

She is a barrister practicing primarily in commercial and public law. she founded and co-directed the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival and is currently Chair of the board.

Lidia Thorpe

She is a Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman Australian politician. She was the member for Northcote in the Victorian Legislative Assembly from 2017 to 2018 and is a member of the Victorian Greens.

Bec Harnett

Bec is from Noongar boodja Country in the Southwest of Western Australia. She has extensive experience in program and project management. Her skills span project design, scoping and planning through to evaluation and re-design. Bec is currently working with the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre (AILC) after time with the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute (AIGI). Prior to these roles, Bec was the Program Manager for the Indigenous Governance Program at Reconciliation Australia.

Mohammed Yassin

Mohammed Yassin is a former refugee, arriving in Australia in 2003 and settling in Shepparton for two years before moving to Melbourne. He is a board member of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria and a former Commissioner on the Victorian Multicultural Commission. He has completed a Bachelor of Biomedical Science with Honours from the University of Melbourne and worked as a cancer research scientist with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Ahmed Aboushabana

His professional experience has seen him work across industries such as FMCG, Mining, Pharmaceuticals, and Retail. Managing Procurement, Supply Chain and Business Development throughout The Middle East and Asia Pacific. Now, Ahmed runs his own consultancy practice. When not busy with family or work commitments, Ahmed volunteers with many charities and non for profit organisations that focus on empowering people and providing grassroots' solutions to social issues. Ahmed also provides mentoring and facilitates Job Readiness workshops.

Nathaniel Diong

Nathaniel is the CEO of Future Minds Network, delivering transformative programs in schools world-wide. With the future changing rapidly, today’s employers are demanding new entrepreneurial and 21st century skills. He’s taught 11,000 young people future skills, helped them build businesses and explore emerging industries. 2021 Young Australian of the Year finalist, he is also an international startup mentor, judge, and Giant in Residence at Blackbird – Australia’s leading venture capital firm. Nathaniel wears many different hats, as a TEDx speaker, guest lecturer in entrepreneurship, and ex-consultant.