Art exhibition celebrates Timor-Leste ties

City of Port Phillip
‘Art of Friendship’, an exhibition reflecting on the strong ties between Port Phillip and Suai/Covalima, Timor-Leste, is on show at Carlisle Street Arts Space from 22 July to 18 August 2021.

The exhibition features artefacts and photographs of the cultural life in Timor as well as images that capture programs supported through the friendship over two decades. It also includes artwork by local artists and explores each individual’s connection to Timor-Leste through their work.

Elizabeth Milsom’s father, a Commando in Timor during World War II, survived the Japanese invasion with the help of the Timorese people who kept him safe in the hills. He returned to Timor after the war and inspired Elizabeth’s connection to the country through his own paintings.

Elizabeth works with natural dyes on silk, cotton, paper and canvas.

Pat Jessen’s kiln-formed glasswork explores the aspirations and hopes for the future, capturing the spirit of the Timorese people as they realise their post-colonial present and future, embedding democracy and education into their lives.

Writer and director Jen Hughes has created a narrative documentary, ‘The Art of Friendship’, which tells the story of the friendship between Port Phillip and Suai/Covalima. She began creating various media works about the intercultural friendship in 1999.

Mayor Louise Crawford said the exhibition shows the Port Phillip community’s long-standing commitment to Timor-Leste.

“We began our friendship with Suai/Covalima more than 20 years ago, following a tragic massacre which occurred during the Timor War of Independence. Since then, the ties have flourished and we’re delighted to host this celebration of a beautiful friendship between these two communities,” Cr Crawford said.

Art of Friendship can be viewed at the Carlisle Street Arts Space, St Kilda Town Hall, 99a Carlisle Street St Kilda, from 22 July until 18 August 2021.

Carlisle Street Arts Space is open Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5 pm. Entry is free of charge.

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