Hakawati with Aseel ( English & Arabic )
Hakawati is coming to the (online) neighbourhood! At times of isolation, we all need to connect to those we love and to stories and songs that make us feel at home.
We are inviting children aged 2-6 years and their parents to attend Hakawati time.
Hosted by artist, Aseel Tayah, this creative workshop includes singing, movement and an interactive storytime. Aseel will read children’s picture books in both English and Arabic, incorporating fun and playful lessons in Arabic words and phrases. Families are invited to join in the singing and storytelling.
About the artist:
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.”
Through the power of storytelling, Aseel’s artistic practice creates awareness and facilitates connection by humanising the experiences of people who have been displaced. As such, her work is embedded in the community and is often highly responsive to current issues.
During Refugee Week 2020, Aseel curated, produced and presented a series of live online discussion panels featuring national and international artists and cultural leaders. The series attracted more than 40,000 views and led to an invitation to participate in the inaugural TEDx Melbourne PluggedIn event where she was awarded Best Speaker.
As a creative director and installation artist, Aseel has a wide range of experience. International highlights include We Too Want To Play, the establishment of Palestine’s first network of toy libraries and Fingerprint of an Arab Girl, an annual event showcasing the talents and achievements of girls living under occupation. In Australia, collaborations include unique intercultural experiences such as Lullabies Under the Stars, an Arabic/First Nations work for children, and the participatory installation Bukjeh, exploring stories of home and being forced to leave it.
As a cultural leader, she has developed ongoing relationships with a variety of organisations including Multicultural Arts Victoria, Arts Centre Melbourne, Polyglot, Arts House, Arts Front, VMC, NGV, Federation Square, ASRC, RISE Refugee and numerous local councils and settlement organisations.
Although currently in lockdown, the unstoppable Aseel is facilitating a variety of projects from home including: Bukjehs of Hope, a collaboration with 15 artists to produce a video for families in Beirut affected by the recent explosion; an illustrated children’s book series called Stories from Home; an online cooking class bringing people together to cook, sing and tell stories; and volunteering with settlement services to support mothers who have recently arrived in Australia.
Aseel exemplifies the use of art and creativity to achieve social justice, and is renowned for her kindness, optimism and generosity. She also has an incredible singing voice which she uses to connect hearts and harvest hope.