Island Welcome - | Lauren Simeoni
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Lauren Simeoni

Lauren Simeoni



What if I become a refugee? Would I be welcomed by another country?

There are currently 65 million refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people around the world. Prime Minister Turnbull says Australia will permanently boost its annual refugee intake to 18,750. However between 2014-2015, there were a total of 195,099 permanent migrants, of whom 3.2 percent were resettled refugees the lowest in 20 years.

I appreciate this is a complex situation. However, I cannot accept 1400 refugees being detained on our shores, including Christmas Island, with an additional 1186 taken to Nauru and Papua New Guinea. The average time period for people detained on our shores being 443 days.

Proud Aussies wear the flag on Australia Day as a symbol of their patriotism.

I feel deeply uncomfortable with Australia’s migration history past and present, our flag and our national anthem.

I wanted to transform the flag to look more like a net, not aggressively slashed, but unpredictable and full of holes representing the uncertainty of the process of coming to Australia as a refugee.

Deconstructing the flag into this not-so-welcoming lei has been much more time consuming than expected. Whist unpicking and beading I reflected on how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful country, and the inequality for people that are forced out of theirs.

I just felt so strongly about this subject/situation I was unable to make anything attractive, a departure from my predominantly playful jewellery pieces. (This may be my own undoing…)

In my Australia, refugees are welcome – ‘Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free; we’ve golden soil and wealth for toil; our home is girt by sea’.


Materials: Materials: Flag, Beads, Thread.


Island Welcome
welcome garland