By Museum of Freedom and Tolerance
Yi Xiao Chen & Osama Mah
Yi Xiao Chen and Osama Mah
Jessie Yi Xiao Chen is a first generation Chinese-Australian artist and general practitioner working in Western Australia, who's work explores themes of cultural identity, family history, and connection to the past.
Born in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and growing up in Lakemba in Western Sydney, Osama Mah has always grown up in and amongst Islamic art and culture.
Practising Arabic calligraphy from a young age, many of Mah's pieces amalgamate Islamic themes and his background in digital graphic design. He believes cultural expression through the arts builds understanding and harmony between communities.
The two artists met at Chen's first Freedom & Tolerance workshop, which Mah attended as a participant. Here, collaborators explored using Chinese and Arabic calligraphy in red ink on white orchids to express messages of cultural solidarity and unity.
They went on to co-facilitate the second workshop at the "Day of Demonstrations", hosted by Community Arts Network (CANWA), Museum of Freedom and Tolerance (MFTWA) and Creative Recovery Network.
The workshop invited members of the public to produce art on Australian flora, such as bark, dried eucalyptus leaves and mulberry leaves - much of which Chen collected from bushland near her father's home.
Untitled (2020) by Osama MahMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance
Symbyols hand-painted in red ink on bark by an unknown collaborator at Freedom & Tolerance, a workshop exploring cultural expression at "Day of Demonstrations".
Hayat (life) II (2020) by Osama MahMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance
Hayat (life) II
Arabic symbol hand-painted in gold ink on bark by an unknown collaborator at Freedom & Tolerance, a workshop exploring cultural expression at "Day of Demonstrations".
Part 3: Rebuild (2019) by Jessie ChenMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance
Part 3: Rebuild
Video of Zhang Di Hua, Sultana Shamshi and Osama Mah hand-painting orchids in Chen's Freedom & Tolerance workshop.
Freedom & Tolerance encourages participants, who become collaborators, to think about notions of community, multiculturalism and cohesiveness – and to then translate these ideas onto the pieces of flora through symbolism, words, phrases or illustrations.