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Remain series, 2018

Wall text

Wall text

Hoda Afshar

Born 1983 in Tehran, Iran.  

Lives and works in Naarm/Melbourne. 

Pronouns: she/her 


"Edris – Manus Island"

"Ibrahim Mahjid – Manus Island"

"Emad Moradi – Manus Island"

"Ramsiyar – Manus Island"

"Behrouz Boochani – Manus Island"

"Mohamed – Manus Island"

"Shamindan and Ramisyar - Manus Island" 

"Ari Sirwan – Manus Island"

"Thanus – Manus Island"

pigment photographic prints

Courtesy of the artist



two-channel digital video, colour, sound

23:33 min


Courtesy of the artist and Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased with funds provided by the Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2020.

In 2018 Afshar travelled to Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, with her camera concealed underneath a false base in her suitcase. She was there to make a body of work with a group of stateless asylum seekers, among them the writer and activist Behrouz Boochani. Afshar 
had begun communicating with Boochani in late 2017 
when the Australian immigration detention centre closed 
and he was moved to other facilities.

This collaborative project, encompassing a video and a suite of photographs, bluntly spotlights the lived impact of Australia’s border protection policies. In the video, the camera pans over a picturesque landscape of lush foliage and crystal-clear water. The idyllic scenery is 
abruptly undone by sobering, episodic voice-overs. Some of the men recite poetry, some sing, some remember the riots and the suicides. 


Where the video is verdant and vibrant, the photographs are emphatically devoid of colour. The men are positioned in the foreground of each image against a depthless black backdrop. Nothing detracts from the simple fact of their presence. This is itself a radical gesture. Australia’s border protection policies push refugees offshore and out of 
view; by contrast, Afshar asserts their right to visibility. The props that animate each photograph were selected by Afshar’s collaborators as an allegory of their own experience.


Audio text to come soon

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