Detainee wins art award


A DETAINED asylum seeker in Darwin has won a Territory art award for building a model boat.

My Dream Boat by detained asylum seeker Javad Javadi

Hazara plasterer Javad Javadi, 45, from Afghanistan, made My Dream Boat in the Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC) in Berrimah and won the 2011 Darwin Community Legal Service Rights on Show Human Rights Art Award.

It is made from felt, ice-cream sticks, dish-cloths, plastic containers, magazines and glue. The bridge is detailed with instruments, a computer and a bed for the skipper.

There were about 50 entrants and five from inside the detention centre. The theme was Housing and Homelessness, and Mr Javadi’s entry was about boarding a boat to find a home in Australia.

He has been in detention in NIDC and on Christmas Island for about 22 months.

Mr Javadi does not speak English but communicated to art teacher Vikki Riley through a friend.

Ms Riley said he was “jubilant” and cried when he found out he won.

“He has no home and hasn’t had one for 35 years,” she said.

Ms Riley said encouraging Mr Javadi to make art was tough.

“He has had his moments like all of them – he smashed up a model house he was building because he was angry,” she said.

“He is a great example of someone who can survive detention.”

Mr Javadi won $500 which will go to his wife towards school costs for their five children in Pakistan.

He left Afghanistan and travelled through Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia before boarding a fishing boat for Australia in Indonesia.