Hoda Afshar


Noosa Woods Bay, Noosa Heads

Thu 20 to Sun 30 July

Hoda Afshar is an Iranian born documentary photographer who is based in Naarm / Melbourne.

This series photographic portraits was made in collaboration with several of the men who were sent to languish in the remote offshore detention centre of Manus Island, five or more years after they fled their homelands to seek asylum in Australia.

Set against the lavish houses on the edge of the Noosa River and amid the lush vegetation of the Noosa Woods, Remain poetically acknowledges the plight of these men – beset by the elements of fire, water and earth. While the act of detention attempted to render each individual invisible, Afshar’s dramatic photographs powerfully reassert their right to be seen.

Often the best writing about art is simple and easy to understand – something that’s not always synonymous with ‘art-speak’ and the language encountered in art galleries and exhibition reviews. Community Critics sees a range of people from different backgrounds write responses to Floating Land projects, describing and interpreting them through their own lens.

COMMUNITY CRITIC: Joel McPherson (Tour Guide)

Hoda Afshar


Hoda Afshar’s ‘Remain Portraits’ are quite moving in their rawness and in their Noosa Woods location. I found the portraits to depict how these now stateless men on Manus Island have been stripped of everything but themselves, the elements, and the essentials for survival. The elements of earth, fire, wind and water feature, with these men in separate portraits, as well as a portrait with a chicken as a sign of food. With no sense of how much longer these men will remain in the Manus Island detention centre, I believe their biggest challenge would be to retain a sound mind. These portraits depict these mental challenges, often faced in silence, with no one to confide in other than fellow detainees who are facing similar challenges.

For me, the location of these portraits in the Noosa Woods brings two very different worlds together. The mangroves, forest, and banks of the Noosa Woods give a sense of what the vegetation may be like on Manus Island, PNG. The other side of the river provides a stark contrast to the current world of these Manus Island detainees with a stretch of multi-million-dollar riverfront housing, often demolished for a more lavish rebuild. I also found the calmness of Woods Bay alongside the portraits to contrast with the wild tropical latitude of Manus Island. As I gaze at this exhibit and its surrounds, I see portraits of people who have been stripped of it all, with a backdrop of the imposing heights of material wealth where people seemingly have it all.



Noosa Woods Bay, Noosa Heads

Sun 23 July – 10.15am for a 10.30am screening time

A screening of Hoda Afshar’s accompanying video work, Remain(2018), will take place here on Sunday 23 July at 10.15am for a 10.30amscreening time. This will be followed by an ‘In Conversation’ event between former Manus Island detainee, Behrouz Boochani, live from New Zealand, and award-winning writer, storyteller and human rights activist, Arnold Zable, live on-site, discussing language and the art of resistance.

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Seating is limited. BYO picnic blanket is welcome.

If this project raises any issues for you, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au

Resources for refugees and people seeking asylum can also be found at www.refugeecouncil.org.au

Van Badham / Banned Books / Jordyn Burnett / Behrouz Boochani and Arnold Zable / Brotherhood of the Wordless / Community Critics / Lyndon Davis, Leah Barclay and Tricia King / Fiona Foley / Juan Ford / Todd Fuller / Warwick Gow / Aunty Helena Gulash and James Muller / Kim Guthrie / Miriam Innes / Soda Jerk / Ketakii Jewson-Brown and Shaye Hardisty / Deborah Kelly / Kidsplained / Jaime Kiss / Kim Leutwyler / Louise Martin-Chew / Peter Rowe / Van T Rudd / Amy Sargeant / Ian Smith / Shelley Ware / Judy Watson / Megan Williams / Gosia Wlodarczak / Laura Woodward